Say no to designing objects

Is that really possible?

First the chain of causality and unsustainability: you buy things, which then creates the system that caters to this consumption behaviour, which then needs the manufacturing system to make things, which then requires designers to imagine things, which then means you have designers who want to design (things).

The question that I faced entering university from commercial practice in 1994 was – will I continue just being involved in a thingiverse – and will I be able to sustain my interest in such a work life. I was going into university as a teacher, I didn’t need to work clients and indulge in producer-side-thinking. I had the option to be idealistic.

So I said in 1994 – I will no longer design things.

My first action was to document the design inherent in the works of non designers – people on the street/ hawkers and this I referred to as the public domain. Design in the Public Domain.

Four years later I was to embark simultaneously on two projects – in both “producer side thinking” would be absent. Both would impact upon peoples lives – a large number of people.

That kept me busy for 5 years.

These projects – one on Waste and one on Pedal powered vehicles – sustained and developed my desire to do Projects as Campaigns. Thus was born the idea of Campaign Projects.

I have now been doing campaign projects for 17 years. Two projects were prototyped.

Ranting is good

I was asked this monday and tuesday: ‘do you deliberately set out to provoke people’. I dont. It just all comes out when my dam of irritation breaks. I live and work in a pace where the conservative perspective dominates – or emerges repeatedly as a skill acquisition imperative. And to everyone I ask: ‘is university a place to acquire skills or emerge as the thinking individual’. I find that sould killing and have always belived this. About myself all I can say is: ‘Went to uni took risks’. And I want my students to do the same. I taught this way for 22 years. Isnt’ that enough to prove that this is what I do. And I dont do it as a provocation.  just do.

But then maybe what I do is a rant.

This is an awesome blog – for all of us who did systems thinking 20 years ago – this is good stuff. Bookmark this – take a feed and listen in.

A Ten Point Rant About Why Ranting Leads to Reality – or @)!@ | resilientfutures.org

1. A rant is defined in the dictionary as: to speak or shout out loud at length in a wild, impassioned way.

2. I would assert that ALL new thinking and doing starts with some kind of rant -and from that rant comes reality.

3. When Kennedy asserted on May 26th 1961 ‘……. “I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth” – that was a considered by many as a rant – and a gross, unsubstantiated and self-opinionated rant at that, that caused mayhem, angst and uncertainty for even his true believers.

4. Rants can be very useful when intended to provoke, engage, align and even gain commitment to all sorts of ideas, from all sorts of people. Especially those ideas in their infancy, put to a diverse and multi-disciplined network of people to provide feedback, and move the idea toward its next stage of growth, or death.

Going Slow for a bit

I am away from my desk – at a retreat – so not posting as much. Not browsing as much.

So all my alerts are mounting – and all the feeds are adding up. I scanned today – before going in to the discussions – and found some really exciting stuff there. So you will have to wait for all that.

Re our discussions – we are discussin g the ultimate purpose of design on this planet – and how this translates into a design curriculum. Which means we are talking about sketching and drawing.

Also take a look at the other blog I contribute to.
Renounce Network

Another year comes to an end

Its November – and I have finished my teaching for the year. So I am not thinking of my students – but am focussing upon the world of ideas. Typically in this period I reconnect with the core of by practice. I was asked yesterday – what my dreams these days are. I said I haven’t got dreams of the flash big house, that possession, that car (maybe a cruiser HD bike on the side would be nice) – if anything I would like to see my Diabetes company take off. The business plan of the company is in this blog – hidden away making it difficult for you to find. But seriously it is open source – as it should be.

I used this blog to keep pace with my explorations in Social Innovation. When November came I found myself working on a vision-strategy document for a new design school in New Delhi. A school with an affirmative action slant – which dovetails into my ‘social’ focus in design – as against the technological. So I read on the net, got google alerts happening, got lots of RSS feeds on Netnewswire – and the best of this stuff found its way into the blog. This was a lot – so Mark said ‘thats a lot’.

This point of the shift was also the still point of the turning world – it was the week Obama made it to the White house. I could safely delete all the ‘real clear politics’ feed and other such alerts. That was over – or so I thought. I have kept the Atlantic Monthly blogs – and discovered Megan McArdle – after her blast about bailouts.

So this post is in a new category called Faint Voice News – where I plan to reflect and give the reader (I seem to be acquiring a neat little following) advance warning about the shifts in my preoccupations.

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