- Use information to connect
- Solve for the system- look at the context, design not just the product also business models
- Trust builds market- Holistic design is not just about design but also about accountability
- Brands bring trust
- Set up kiosks and do experiments for a day- test viability
- No idea will scale unless it solves real needs for real people
I was doing a storyboarding workshop with a couple of teenagers in Glasgows southside. Both girls were passionate about art and brilliant artists. We got chatting about what they want to do after high school. .
“I am going to study art at college” said one girl,
“I want to study childcare” said the other
“Really? But you love art” her friend was surprised
“Yeah if I study it it’ll become work. If I do it on the side it’ll still be fun”
It got me thinking again about “following your passion” (see my previous blog post). This is the mantra that the millennial generation, my generation, has grown up with. Love what you do.
Most of us are looking for job satisfaction.
As documentary PressPausePlay explores, we have more opportunities than ever before. Look at how the internet has democratized access. Anybody can be a director, filmmaker, artist, musician, entrepreneur, and expert….
Yet it’s even harder to be HEARD.
Yet we seem to be no more satisfied than any other generation. There is now such a thing as a quarter life crises.
Steve Jobs is probably the most famous advocate for doing what you love. In his Stanford Commencement speech he encourages
“You’ve got to find what you love, don’t settle”
Do what you love = success
We now think that if you do what you love, you will be happy, you will be a success. With that comes enormous pressure.
Unlike on the x-factor where everyone knew they wanted to be a singer when were 3, few us have an epiphany moment.
Follow your passion” assumes: a) you have a preexisting passion, and b) if you match this to your job, then you’ll enjoy that job
….Excitement comes and goes. True passion arises after you’ve put in the long hours to really become a craftsman in your field and can then leverage this value to really have an impact” Cal Newport, the minimalists.com
Cal Newport encourages us to rethink the idea of following your passion.
The version of success we see all the time is
– The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status
Success is also
– The achievement of something, desired, planned or attempted.
The key here is to attempt. Try.
“Most people are so scared to loose they don’t even try” Kanye West.
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm” Winston Churchill
It means being vulnerable. You might fail. But there is a beauty in vulnerability.
It means being open and honest.
It means finding your voice.
(“Just be yourself,” another millennial mantra)
“Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you have an opinion you must say it and take the flack for it” Tony Benn, Last Will and Testament
If like me you constantly want to be liked, this is easier said than done.
The great news is that you express your voice by producing. Make as much stuff as you can, make stuff that makes your friends go wow. This blog is one way to produce, to express my honest ideas, opinions and thoughts.
Don’t know what to do? You just have to begin. Find things that you’re drawn to, things that frustrate you.
Keep going, it’ll come to you (that’s what they all say).
Time + doing= mastery
“To find success there is to find your own path, only way to find that path is to act, to start going” Casey Neistat, Tim Ferriss Podcast
“Always produce” is also a heuristic for finding the work you love….
….. what you should not do, I think is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world” Paul Graham, How to do what you love
“Get out of your own way, as soon as your ego gets in the way, and you go I don’t know if I know what to do next, you’ve already put “I” in front of it and blocked it a little bit.
…..Not knowing what’s gonna happen, but you trust it’ll be there. That when you put the brush on the canvas it’ll know where to go. The trust comes first.
…. It’s not gonna come for you if you just sit there waiting for it to happen. You have to act. As soon as you step forward even a little bit it starts sweeping you away.” Robert Rodriguez on Tim Ferriss podcast
I love interviews and biographies and I’ve have found that the common thing between so many people we perceive as “successful” is that they are attempting to make the world better in some way.
However there are no two people in the same position in the same field that had the same journey. After all we all have different starting points! It’s often a series of seemingly random decisions. That’s the good news and the bad news. So how do we know which decisions are right.
“Instinct and ideas. That’s what it’s all about” John Carpenter on the Directors Chair.
Trust your instinct and move on them, make decisions, with incomplete information. No one knows the answers. There are no answers. Again PRODUCE>
Cultivate your instinct. This needs us to be present and be open. It’s challenging in our current culture of distraction. Taking time, even a few moments a day, for “you” can work wonders. Whatever suits, journaling, meditating, praying, exercising…
<Producing means you can get good at being you.
You don’t have to be unique; you don’t have to be special. You have to be “you.”
And your “you” isn’t one thing all the time.
“Life is about integrating different parts of yourself and finding you authentic self. Your authentic self has a lot of dimensions.” Isabel Guerrero
Being our authentic self is probably the hardest thing we can do.
It’s the most liberating thing we can do.
I’m on the quest to produce, find and amplify my actual self. I don’t know how the journey will go, but join me if you wish 🙂
For more reading, watching and listening here are my favourites!
(That’s enough thinking for one day!)
Katie Crepeau’s recent blog post on Design Affect got me thinking about why and how I got into Public interest design, Impact Design, socially driven design, humanitarian design or people centred design, however you want to call it. I realized that there wasnt a single moment that lead me to this, more a series of small moments that pulled me in this direction. I’m still very much at the start of my career and learning in this field but it is interesting to look back at the random steps that led me here.
The role of the creative class should be less receiving, rather broader, faithful and responsive
It was only when I started my Diploma (the last 2 years of architecture course) that I started to be more exposed to this field and maybe even think about it as a legitimate career path. My dissertation was quite pivotal. I wanted to write about Lagos in Nigeria. I was between writing about a development for middle income clients or a slum called Makoko that I’d somehow come across. And I had a meeting with one of the tutors impressed on me that I had a key choice to make.
This project continued into my thesis project where I designed a maternity centre for Makoko. Again it was having a fantastic tutor while I was on exchange in Vienna that encouraged me to do this. Despite it being totally different from what everyone back in Glasgow was doing.
Final year was tricky, everyone was talking about what they wanted to do next and I knew I didn’t want to go back to working in a traditional office, but I didn’t feel like I had enough courage to go out on my own and do it. There was a symposium at the University, Clean Conscience Dirty Hands that was organised by one of the tutors, who had set up his own humanitarian design studio as a 19yr old student (and is now my colleague). I think that was the biggest turning point for me. Seeing the speakers from a range of countries all working in this field whether in the UK or abroad, made me realize that it was possible. I was still scared of course, I told my brother that the longer I waited to start the more fear would set in.
Since then it’s been a total whirlwind and I am learning so much about people centred design and making a positive impact in communities. I can’t believe I graduated last year.
Stop talking start doing!
Kill your babies!
An inspiring example of how design and entrepreneurial thinking can make a positive social impact from the Detroit based Empowerment Plan, started by Veronika Scott, a 24 year old entrepreneur and product designer. Veronika has designed a a coat that turns into a sleeping bag for the homeless. But its more than that. She has created an organisation employs women that are homeless and sleeping in shelters, providing them with and income and hope. As she describes a woman once told her “coats are pointless we need jobs.”
It reminds me of a quote from Mohammad Yanus “when I see a problem I create a business to solve it.”
Find out more at http://www.empowermentplan.org/