from Inspiration to Implementation

This week our direction was Empathic Design: Needs and Activism. I did not resonate with our first article Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Fletcher and Grose. I could not get into the read at all; however, I found our discussion to be very helpful. The Human Needs and The Human Scale Development chart was interesting to see what you consider a fundamental human need in comparison to your group members. We discussed social resilience, how adaptable we are, and how material goods may enhance or affect our fundamental human needs. Do we thrive with or without materials? As of today, I don’t think we are really capable of understanding how it truly is to live without certain luxuries. In fact, we probably do not even consider it a luxury, but something essential in our lives. In all honesty, how many of you can go an entire day without the use of any technology? I don’t think that I would be able to and that is really depressing to think that I have to rely on a piece of equipment to make it through the day. Does that mean if our fundamental human needs are met that we will be more social resilient, or as humans are we ever really satisfied with what we have. . In Fashion and Sustainability: Design for Change by Fletcher and Grose the arguments discussed were having, doing, and being. Her argument of having, what is sufficient and what is enough, degrades social resilience because it allows for competition – pulling us a part. The argument of doing, being able to “fit in” and “relate to” allows for the shit of having to doing. Her last argument of being was to design to allow emotional connection to evolve throughout time. You always hear the phrase “less is more” in your design classes, yet there is always the need to convey a pop, spark, some kind of punch. Again, the competition that pulls us a part. I feel like “less is more” is almost a lost art, similar to the slow knowledge example discussed in class – knowing how to take of land passed down through generations.

Our second article, Change by Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organizations and Inspires Innovation by Tim Brown was a better read for me. Within this article we learned about design activism. Design activism is an emerging movement that puts design as a central focus in solving problems. It is a matter of process: brainstorming, from inspiration to implementation – trial and error. In our discussion we learned that there are two primary capitals – Human and Nature – all other capital comes from the two primary capitals. Human capital is “acquired and useful abilities,” such as, physical, intellectual, psychology, dexterity, judgment, spiritual, and emotional.  Nature capital is all life springs; it measures the availability of resources. In order to change human capital one must first be able to change cultural capital, then social capital. Enhancing human and social capital is what design activism is all about. In order to change capital you have to be able to understand human behavior. I find this to be difficult because similar to our group discussion on Tuesday, we found that we all categorized our importance of fundamental human needs differently. Therefore, each one of us is different how are you able to change human behavior when there is no set behavior, but rather a beautiful mixture of behaviors. Which bring us back to design activism; I am so blessed to know that I am capable of changing something for the better within my field.

I want to leave this blog with a quote from Wendell Berry (in our lecture slides):

“You never know what is enough, unless you know what is more than enough.”

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