Professor Whitney is Head of the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology. Was President Clinton’s advisor on design matters. Now busy with global research into cultural similarities and differences – and how these can be utilised in the design process.


Professor Patrick Whitney of the Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, brought extra academic weight to the day. Patrick Whitney heads the Institute, which was founded by émigré Bauhaus prominenti. He has also been special advisor to President Clinton in design matters. Whitney said that companies can now do everything – the production resources are available. Most companies, however, don’t know what they want to do. Whitney’s solution is to study people, not the so-called market. Following his extensive global research he is able to present a tool for organising such studies. And best of all – the tool is free. It will soon be available for downloading at

“We know less about patterns of daily life because daily life is way more complicated now than it was a few years ago. Companies know how to do anything, they’re just not sure what to make. When you can make anything, how do you decide what it is you should make? There is this thing we call the ‘what-to-make gap’. Designers can fill this gap with different methods for understanding users.”

“Today house developers don’t have the sense of daily life. In the US, they still develop houses for the nuclear family, mom and dad and two or three kids. This type of family represents 5 to 6% of Americans, while most Americans live alone.”