28 November 2009

Manifest This.

In light of a few of my posts this week – where I questioned if people really understand sustainable consumption, asked if visualization could offer a more valuable evaluation of literacy and imagined what design education would look like in the future – I found this information interesting and even, hopeful. While there have been many manifestos over the years, there is something significant when a mission statement gets presented a) outside of your own discipline and b) on a global scale. For some reason, perhaps naïve, it makes me believe it might have some stick. Here is an excerpt originally posted on Brian Collins' site, (which has now seemingly disappeared and I'm not sure why?):

The Global Agenda Council on Design is committed to applying design thinking to analyzing systemic problems, and to inventing and delivering creative solutions. We have identified six design principles, which should help us – and our fellow Global Agenda Councils – to develop new ideas and strategies to address the problems facing us all.

• Clarity: Complex problems require simple, clear and honest solutions.

• Inspiration: Successful solutions will move people by satisfying their needs, giving meaning to their lives, and raising their hopes and expectations.
• Transformation: Exceptional problems demand exceptional solutions that may be radical and even disruptive.
• Participation: Effective solutions will be collaborative, inclusive and developed with the people who will use them.
• Context: No solution should be developed or delivered in isolation but should recognize its context in terms of time, place and culture.
• Sustainability: Every solution needs to be robust, responsible and designed with regard to its long-term impact on the environment and society.
Based on our discussions with fellow councils we have developed three proposals for projects intended to fulfill the World Economic Forum’s mission of improving the state of the world:

Universal symbols to encourage sustainable consumption – Many consumers wish to behave more responsibly but are unsure as to how to do so. We propose to develop an internationally-recognized set of symbols – one to indicate the water footprint of a product and its packaging; the other to indicate their combined carbon footprint. This simple system will also encourage more consumers to follow suit in future and companies to behave more responsibly.
Design thinking within education – As design thinking is an invaluable tool to help us to think and act creatively, we propose to introduce it as a core subject on the K-12 curriculum all over the world. By providing students with a methodology for understanding global challenges and giving them the means with which to conceive and develop solutions, this would be a simple but effective way of nurturing a new generation of instinctive lateral thinkers and problem solvers.
Lifecycle-adjusted value system – This looks at the cost of existence including utilization and decomissioning costs. By visualizing and revealing these costs to society, this offers a new way of measuring value. It strives to convert a debt-focused society into an asset-focused society by changing the valuation system. It is a paradigm shift so that one generation creates assets for the next generation instead of debts.

Action plan, anyone?
Having attended a few conferences while in Rwanda, which looked at ways to respond to all sorts of development: urban infrastructure, environmental management and science/technology (to name a few), I was introduced to a popular question: What is your action plan? (which always sounded so lovely when said with force by my colleagues there: "Ack-shun Plahn").

In light of this mission statement, I am curious to see how the design community can and will act on this ideas. I know there has been much in the works to get to this stage. But how will we individually and collectively respond to this blueprint? What forms will it take? Grassroots? Corporate? Others?

I love to be inspired by grand ideas. I'm fairly sure I procure such notions on a daily basis – Just ask my friends! I am realizing more and more that what keeps me inspired is not the declaration of the hopeful future; rather it is the witness of tangible actions, which often seem to be inconsequential or perhaps even, dare I say, failures, that allow me to live into the declarations. In saying this, I suppose I'm suggesting that while I look forward to a collective action plan from the design community, I am also required to filter this into my own paradigm and act on it accordingly.

1 comment:

olivelife said...

I want to track the Twitter chats on this so will paste them in here in case you don't ride the Twitter trail.

@ICT_Works Love question, but not satisfied w/ your answer. Better one? RT @karapecknold: When you get manifesto, what's action plan? http://is.gd/58ssK

@karapecknold Can we collaborate on it? Others can join. RT @ICT_Works Love question, but not satisfied w/ your answer. Better one? http://is.gd/58ssK

@changeorder: @karapecknold I think I agree with @ICT_Works, I think there are short-term impacts that should be pursued as well as those three noted.

@karapecknold: @changeorder Ditto. These were presented at the WEF so I'm also asking about the "tangible baby steps" to pursue. Thoughts to add?

@changeorder: @karapecknold Seventh design principle: Agility. Start influencing systemic problems with immediate iteration of solutions in context.

"Lifecycle-adjusted value systems" is a tall order & can be easily corporatized and disrupted if not purely not-for-profit

@karapecknold: @changeorder So true. What does that look like your context?

@changeorder: @karapecknold Then again, how else can you create value in an (invisible) economy? :P

Hmm... I vote for focusing on providing for core human needs (food, water, shelter, health care) before branding their value.

@karapecknold: @changeorder I completely agree with you! I think some designers get the "big idea" but don't see how to translate it in the immediate. Want that story.