Creativity (stories, film, etc.), Society

A shift towards design as problem solving

The last year or two I have noticed more and more designers talking about changing the meaning of design or at least what the design profession is about. They are advocating a shift away from just designing beautiful graphics and creating smart solution to isolated problems towards understanding design really as a school or a way of problem solving. This notion was probably first articulated in the term Design Thinking.

Today, we live in a world where on one hand potentially everybody with a computer can create great-looking prints and websites and on the other hand we have more complex problems than ever that cannot be solved by looking at them in isolation but are really properties of globally interconnected systems or emergent systems. So the thinking goes, and I tend to agree, that designers should not stand in the way of the democratization of poster-making but instead focus on tackling these interconnected and interdisciplinary problems. Because it seems that designers are in a unique position to look at these systems in a holistic way and are able to get to grasp with them using a mix of different methodologies.

That is, of course, unless you believe that the market is going to figure it all out by itself. Then we don’t need as many designers but are well served with continuing to hire economists in all possible positions…