Or so goes the sentiment in”design thinking” – and well its possible. Or alternately – let look back to see how we HAVE changed the world. From 2004 till now we (my colleagues and I) have shaped 321 minds and put them out into this city, Melbourne. Of these, lets say for the sake of our story, 100 are proactively idealistic and changing the world. We have in effect created the perfect 100th monkey phenomenon. Which means the change that we have been instrumental in effecting, is already a phenomenon. The question here is how do we see, touch and feel this change? (I would be keen to hear your responses to this question – in the comments section)
“What we’ve been talking about since my first day on the job two years ago is how artists can change places,” Landesman said – have a listen on ABC RN here (http://www.abc.net.au/rn/artworks/stories/2011/3336130.htm). He was talking about the role artists (which is all creative people – including Industrial Designers) play in a society and the economy. He went on to say that artists (Industrial and Fashion Designers) create events and works. People flock to places where a concentration of such works happen (Melbourne?) – and where the city acquires a reputation as a creative cluster. Where there are people – there are jobs: people eat, watch and go out spending on a whole load of other consumables. The service industry in Melbourne continues to grow. Melbourne is a creative cluster – one of the big ones. How aware is Melbourne of this creative ecosystem? How well does Melbourne support and nurture this creative ecosystem?
Below are a few additional/ useful/critical readings on creative clusters and Richard Florida.
Where does Melbourne rank among cities as a creative cluster: http://www.amazon.com/Whos-Your-City-Creative-Important/dp/0465003524
In 2009 I started a few different kinds of engagements with creatives (designers) – the ones that I had worked with in their formative stages. I had a hand in their development – and I decided that it would be good to walk with them as they took baby steps through entering creative practice – this was one intervention – careers curation. I have a few other interventions.
One was to speak loudly in the hearing of the people in the Victorian government (Lyn Kosky in the old days and then the Innovation-wallahs who supported the labour policy on innovation and more recently the people in the Bailleu Govt) that DESIGN IS AN INDUSTRY and as such needs support like an industry. Everyone in this city agrees that Design contributes to the economy – as in a sector that employs many people. It is a sector, that is not in doubt. But can it claim status as an “industry” and then become eligible for government support – and development projects (a 100 hectare design precinct and incubator estate – with state of the art prototyping facilities – like China has in most cities, possibly also with a visionary like like Bao Fu Han leading it)? Instead we got a festival (not bad for starters) and an Industry support organization (modelled on New Zealand and 1970s UK) – not bad as mild commitment. But not necessarily anywhere near what cities, that wished to be leaders in innovation, were doing. Will this change? Probably not anytime soon.
The orthodoxy sees the situation in two ways: One, industry and the potential employers of designers need to be educated bout the economic benefits of design. This ignores the fact that contemporary society is ‘saturated’ with design – and anyone needing design help knows where to go – the internet. This was not the cse in 1960s UK and so the design council had a programme of workshops and training courses. Is it valid to spend resources educating potential clients to use designers? Why wouldn’t it be a better idea to seed designers to go off and do some creative activity. Like an arts council – only as a new age ‘design council’. Two, more damagingly another view is that designers need to be re-educated to fit into industry and workplaces. Damaging – because it superfluous – or even that these workplaces need fresh ideas not creatives trained to “fit in”. Hence these orthodoxies are fallacies. Have you heard me say this – Yes this has been the way my litany has run for a fair few years.
Still to move on.
Then there was an attempt to find out what the 321 people were doing. This last suddenly seems a very interesting line of inquiry to follow. What I would like to do is first have a group of people – who I can then chat to. If I can get an understanding of what they are doing – then I can get some ideas of what manner of support they could do with. Or I can propose that ‘creative insurgency’ with the willing ones. I can also add to this 50 additional people – the ones who came to us from overseas (mainly from NID in India) and walked some way with us. Right so I have 371 people.
Next I create a place – I tried a NIG network in 2008. It wasn’t perfect. I am trying facebook now – and it looks promising. I have about 200 people at hand.
Then I need projects! First I tested the ground with a ‘pilot’: DIY Pads. Then started looking further afield. I have been looking around and talking to agencies about projects. It looks like there are two projects that have potential for 2012. (If you want to know more about this – express your interest in the comments section.)
My goal initially was to find work for graduating designers, that became bigger and I was looking to figure out all the places where a designer could potentially work in Melbourne. Its now all that, plus – why not create work, workplaces and projects!