Did you never wonder why we have our eyes right next to each other and not, for example, one above the other, or one at the front and one at the back? The parallel arrangement obviously is evolution’s favorite. This genetically preferred eye-array has therefore influenced our behavior and the way we look at things: predominantly with a strong focus. That’s why we laugh at „Johnny Head-in-the-Air“, when he runs into a sign post or misses a turn, and regret the cow that doesn’t seem to notice the butcher right in front of her. We forced to take close notice of what is around us, and those who didn’t were eaten by predators and hence eliminated from our gene pool.
Do you have children? If not, no problem, because you might recall these yourself: the parent conference days! This ‘running-around-at-the-school-campus-and-looking-for-the-room’ where teachers are waiting for parents and their school-kids. Depending on the pupils’ ‘performance level’, the numbers of meetings were few or many and likewise a torture or purely a matter of duty.
The room was slowly filling up with the employees. One after the other they took their seats and didn’t look too pleased: the speech that I was about to be holding did interrupt the longed-for transition from their dinner to a well deserved drink at the bar! So this left me with the task to ensure that those snaring away during my talk would not animate the others to follow suit.
Our world is a system that contains many sub-systems: the oceans, the forests, the climate – all are complex, fragile and well calibrated organisms with a system character. If one of the parts is not running well, the others will suffer as well: one weak spot will influences the overall performance. Systems can repair themselves, once they are not running well – unless the weak spot is getting larger than the self-curing ability of the parts involved. Then the whole system can collapse: system failures are the most wicked problems around us.
Design came a long way: whereas in the beginning it had a focus on ‘shaping’ artifacts, objects and communication means, it eventually turned to products, thereafter software, services and nowadays to complete experiences. To conclude this process of dissolving into the immaterial, design now turns to the thinking! Design Thinking is design’s new top-notch discipline. The ‘designing’ happens solely inside the brain and therefore it’s solutions are (mainly) thoughts. Means that design is now also accessible to those who are all thumbs – provided that the brain involved can support the required thinking…
It were tough times for me, being a designer and being employed at a company that defined it’s reasoning based on financial indications, like turnover, gross margin, return on investment and so on. Eventually also you, as a designer, have to define your reasoning according to such parameters. Unavoidably the question on the ‘return on investment’ (ROI) will pop-up,like “What do I get back for every Euro I spent on design? Tell me, what’s actually the ROI of design?”
The guys made a depressed impression, or maybe clueless, when I joined them at the bar. They seemed to have all agreed on the fact that something was changing fundamentally – and that it would involve all of them.
But as much as they were in for change, like in all those endless debates with clients and commissioners, the change happening right now was quite something different, and they didn’t had a clue how to deal with the situation: it seemed that their very existence was at stake!
They made the appointment together, father and daughter, in order to find out what the bachelor in design management is all about. Apparently she was looking for a study program in which she could follow her affinity towards creativity, whereas Dad seemed to have something in mind, which would lead to a solid job qualification, and would be of real value in the economy as he knows it. That’s why the ‘management’ in the program’s title seemed to ease him a bit and accordingly he was very curious to find out what the heck ‘design’ had to do with it.
If it was their attempt to find a compromise between themselves that brought them in my office I cannot tell, but during our conversation it became clear to me that she was there mainly because of the design, and he only because of the management.
When I was a kid they dropped people on the moon for the first time ever, and I witnessed it all live on b&w television. I also witnessed that they dropped bombs on people living in sheds, in countries far-away, and that students, because of that, were revolting and were throwing stones at the police. Disturbing pictures, but also strong visions of a better society, with technology that would solve all problems and seem to imply a brighter future. At the end of the 60’s the future only could be better than the current present!
Do you have leadership skills? If not, it’s going to be tough in future, because next to professional specialists (like electricians and plumbers) it are ‘leaders’ the economy is after! In view of the many, many wicked problems facing us, it takes true leaders to guide us into a better future. more…