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A Little Red Book about how to

MAKE DESIGN MATTER By David Carlson


THIS LITTLE RED BOOK PRESENTS A POCKET GUIDE TO MEANINGFUL DESIGN. SEVEN STEPPING STONES THAT INSPIRE YOU TO CROSS THE STREAM OF CHANGE, AND GET YOU TO THE OTHER SIDE, FIRM AND DRY… -Brent Richards, Creative Chef & Architect


Foreword by Brent Richards Intro The Seven Stepping Stones 1 – Think transdisciplinary 2 – Take a cultural approach 3 – Act responsibly 4 – Make it different 5 – Share knowledge 6 – Be intuitive 7 – Dare to fail Roundup Acknowledgements

7 11 33 35 49 69 89 109 123 137 151 162


INTRO

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The earth is suffering. We have disturbed the eco-balance that is so essential to life. Our finite resources are running low. For the first time in the history of earth, the actions of one species are altering the very system that supports all life as we know it. Human society is changing, too. For a long time design has manifested and consolidated an outdated consumer culture, almost a monoculture. We are surrounded by stuff, junk, gadgets, gizmos, artifacts. As consumers we now feel doubtful about this consumption circus. Shopping makes us happy only to a certain degree. But the kick quickly wears off. Overconsumption is slowly but surely destroying us – psychologically, spiritually, maybe even morally – and more concretely, destroying the world we live in. 11


One thing is certain: we cannot continue consuming the way we do today. Our globe simply cannot take such a strain. Just to produce one laptop computer we need to use finite resources equal to the weight of four adult elephants (that is, 40,000 pounds). You can imagine the amount of resources used every year by counting all of the laptops made in the world. Then add all other types of computers, and furniture, and cars, and fashion, and McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, and… It’s like being blindfolded and at the same time racing ahead at high velocity! Design is partly to blame. But it would be simplistic to think that we can cease consuming completely. Probably, we don’t even want it. But we have the opportunity, by what we consume to create a better world. The power of the consumer is enormous. The world in which we live will result from what we buy and what we choose to invest in. We must get back on track and start treating Mother Earth and all her species (elephants included) with more respect.

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ON THE WRONG TRACK

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If you would like to break the pattern, use your power and cross the stream of change – the seven stepping stones presented in this book will help you make a real difference. You will get a good start to get involved in the process of turning the world into a better place. But even better if you choose to be a dedicated catalyst for change and implement holistic thinking in all your actions, turning your involvement into a strong and lifelong commitment. The following short Q&A describes the dissimilarity between the two: Question: In a bacon-and-egg breakfast, what’s the difference between the chicken and the pig? Answer: The chicken is involved, but for the pig it is a total commitment!

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รถ

BE DEDICATED

Egg

รถ

Bacon

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Start of by asking questions. Be curious and openminded. There are no “bad” questions. Find the good answers! But skip the ordinary “How?” and “What?” Instead, ask yourself:

WH 28


HY? Like: Why am I doing this? Why is this important? Why is it done this way? Why does my company exist? Why do we have to think differently? 29


TO MAKE DESIGN MATTER, HOW MANY STEPS ARE REQUIRED? 30


Seven proves to be a useful number: Seven days a week, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, 007, Seven colours of the rainbow, Seven Samurai, The Magnificent Seven, the Seven Seas, the Seven dwarfs, Seven year itch, Seven kinds of flowers under your pillow (a midsummer’s eve tradition in Sweden), the Seventh Wave, Seven kinds of cookies (a tradition at swedish coffee parties), Old no.7 and “On the Seventh Day, God rested…” Seven will be the guiding light for this strategic guideline as well! 31


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THE SEVEN STEPPING STONES


1. Think transdisciplinary 2. Take a cultural approach 3. Act responsibly 4. Make it different 5. Share knowledge 6. Be intuitive 7. Dare to fail 33


1

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1

Think transdisciplinary Fuse various ways of thought to identify new opportunities for revolutionizing synergies.

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YOU WANT PEOPLE WHO ARE PART HUMANIST, PART TECHNOLOGIST AND PART CAPITALIST. -Dev Patnaik 37


PRACTICE HYBRID THINKING

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In the beginning, a designer was merely an engineer with detailed knowledge. To solve today’s more complex problems, we must refocus our attention and effect a “portfolio mind.” The designer is today an investigator who seeks cross-pollination from different fields of thought – as a behavioral scientist, a perceptual psychologist, and a literary storyteller. Actually, this way of thinking is not new. Five hundred years ago, during the Renaissance, da Vinci and his friends in Florence regularly practiced hybrid thinking, causing art, science, and literature to interact. Then there are T-shaped people who benefit from working in two worlds. They’re specialists in one discipline, but empaths able to learn from and collaborate with specialists from other disciplines. (Nevertheless, we may still appreciate a surgeon or a dentist who maintains his or her disciplinary focus…!) 39


BE OPENMINDED

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Great Ormond Street Hospital is a global centre for excellence in children’s healthcare. Their cardiac department had carried out significant research into the role of human factors when things go wrong in surgery, including the role of quite small errors. The department identified the period of handover between the operating theatre and the intensive care ward as a risk period. One evening two of the doctors watched a Formula One race on TV and were amazed how the perfectly choreographed pit-stop team was able to carry out its complex tasks. The “Lollipop Man” uses a paddle to direct the drivers: he was in total control of the situation. The TV evening resulted to a surprising collaboration between the hospital and Ferrari resulting in a remodeled patient-handoff technique inspired by the Ferrari Formula One racing team. Great Ormond Street Hospital’s anesthesiologist became the Lollipop Man (or Woman) for the operation team! By daring to be open-minded to new ways of seeing and doing, you can find solutions where you least expect them. 41


BRING ABOUT UNLIKELY MARRIAGES

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When the American architect Mick Pearce got the assignment to design Eastgate, a mixed office complex and shopping mall in Harare, Zimbabwe, he pushed the envelope with architectural biomimicry inspired by the smart structure of termite mounds as raw model for the building. Harare has extreme weather conditions where the day temperature can be as high as 40 degrees Centigrade (104 degrees Fahrenheit) dropping down to less than 0 degrees Centigrade (32 degrees Fahrenheit) during night time. Despite this the termites maintain a constant temperature inside the termite mould with the help from a clever system of tunnels and chambers where the air allows to flow. In severe situations the termites even use wet mud for its cooling effects. Mick Pearce brought this knowledge into his architecture and created a building with no airconditioning, instead using a passive systems for climate control, resulting in a building which saves 90% of the electricity bill. Now think of new transboundary collaborations that can turn your design into completely new directions. 43


Different ways of life require different types of bicycle helmets. Hövding is an inflatable safety collar worn around the bicyclist’s neck triggered by a mechanism that picks up the bicyclist’s abnormal movements during an accident. The Swedish design duo behind this “invisible bicycle helmet” transferred knowledge (air-bag) from one industry (autos) to another industry (bicycle safety) and realized a brilliant solution. It’s about vanity as well as safety; Hövding will not destroy your hairdo unnecessarily… The collar is covered by a removable shell that can be changed to match your clothing. “This subtle design blends in with what else you are wearing, and it will save your life!” By the way, Nintendo Wii was born nearly the same way: its motion-controller idea was inspired by the accelerometer chip in an automobile’s airbag. How can your business benefit by cross-fertilization from other sources?

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CROSSFERTILIZE

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TAKE A RISK

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Film director David Lynch dares to fail. His odd films push the boundaries, always teetering on the edge between genius and madness. When David entered the music arena with his Crazy Clown Time album, he took an even bigger leap. His recording process was all about creative serendipity. “There were so many accidents, this album should be in the hospital,” Lynch recalled to a trade magazine interview. David Lynch, like most successful entrepreneurs, proved that safe bets usually aren’t the way to go. Take a risk. You might become an unexpected hero! 147


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TWENTY YEARS FROM NOW YOU WILL BE MORE DISAPPOINTED BY THE THINGS YOU DIDN’T DO THAN BY THE ONES YOU DID DO. SO THROW OFF THE BOWLINES. SAIL AWAY FROM THE SAFE HARBOR. CATCH THE TRADE WINDS IN YOUR SAILS. EXPLORE. DREAM. DISCOVER. -Mark Twain 149


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ROUNDUP 151


Design can be one of many ways to deal with change and to create a better life. But your solutions should always strive for

rais d’ê

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on * être. Otherwise, skip it!

(*French for “reason for being.”) 153


Creativity is the engine for innovation and new ideas. By unleashing creativity you have the possibility to frame and solve complex problems. A holistic approach that joins left-brain logical thinking with right-brain intuitive thinking can lead to important new insights. Still, vision without execution is only half the job done; the value of any idea is only realized when it is implemented. The power of design is that it brings ideas to life and innovation to market. But it doesn’t stop there. If we practice design within a social context, we are able to create solutions that offer improvement of our lives and society at-large: transformation through design. Herein lies the sustainable future, for design and for the designer – to be an outstanding tool in all kind of change processes.

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MAKE DESIGN THAT MAKES A DIFFERENCE

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How do you measure success? How do you know if you succeeded and achieved your goals? Success has often been measured in money. But in recent years, dirty truths about greed in the financial world have caused many to question the once dominant “success = money” ideology. More money is not always about more happiness. Ironically, economic rewards and bonuses can inhibit creativity. Shouldn’t individuals and corporations instead measure their success in terms of social change or ecological improvement? On a personal level – maybe it’s about the ability to help others who do not have the same opportunity as ourselves, time with your family, or just pure happiness. In the end, it’s all about life. Can we get the earth to a better place? If so, we’ve already come a long way.

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IN THE END, IT’S ALL ABOUT LIFE

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MAKE THE ORDINARY EXTRAORDINARY!

MAKE DESIGN MATTER! 158


Stay away from mediocrity, the smoothed out and half-hearted. Instead broaden your field of vision: rethink. Your only constraints are a lack of imagination and creativity. Be curious and empathetic, strive for diversity. Do not wait for someone else to take action – do it yourself. Make something extraordinary today! Be focused and careful. The more you dedicate time to push the envelope and your creative abilities, the more eternal results you will achieve. The difference between “good enough” and “excellent” are the degree you care for the details and appreciate human values. This is true for all development and change processes – new consumption offers, rise of lovemarks, humancentered products, culturally-connected narratives, human-scale urbanism, new mobility solutions, and on and on. Don’t just make design better… make design matter!

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THIS LITTLE RED BOOK PRESENTS A POCKET GUIDE TO MEANINGFUL DESIGN. SEVEN STEPPING STONES THAT INSPIRE YOU TO CROSS THE STREAM OF CHANGE, AND GET YOU TO THE OTHER SIDE, FIRM AND DRY… -Brent Richards, Creative Chef & Architect

Make Design Matter is an accessible book about a complex subject. It proposes strategic design guidelines based on holistic concepts. The guidelines facilitate convergence across different fields, inspiring designers and lay persons, companies and institutions, and teachers and students of design to envision and apply more meaningful solutions. This book will help you to design better… and to make design matter! www.makedesignmatter.com

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Make Design Matter  

Make Design Matter is an accessible book about a complex subject. It proposes strategic design guidelines based on holistic concepts. The gu...

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