In the coming days and weeks I’m sure there will be significant discussion about what is essential for our society to function. What do we really, truly, undeniably need? I’m guessing that design won’t be right there at the top of everyone’s list and that the creative industries will suffer heavily (as will many others of course).
However I’d like to propose that creative thought is going to be absolutely essential. The way we do business will be changing, for some it may need to change to a point when it is almost unrecognisable. Yes this may well turn out to be relatively short term change, maybe not, but despite all the gloom, there is the potential for opportunity.
I don’t mean the opportunity to sell more hand sanitiser or face masks. But the chance to responsibly re-design the way we collectively live and work. Together we can find new and innovative ways to help people, foster new audiences, deliver our services, distribute our products and interact with our clients or customers. In order to survive we will need to adapt.
So you can’t go to that trade show, the one where you make most of your sales for the year. There are no flights, maybe you want to avoid travel or maybe it’s simply been cancelled. Maybe they’ve all been cancelled. Well perhaps there are other ways to reach your audience. Perhaps these other ways could be cheaper, more sustainable, more effective, more profitable.
In taking the time to understand the needs of your business as well as the needs of your customers it could be possible to develop entirely new ways to do what you do. Perhaps there are even opportunities to evolve what you do, to make your business better.
Design is misunderstood. Or maybe it just isn’t understood at all. Design is not just about how things look. It’s also (and maybe more so) about how things work. This fact is so true that it has become a gigantic cliché. And this doesn’t just apply to product design, or design engineering or service design. It applies to all design and the outcomes affect our day-to-day behaviour and quality of life.
Design is problem solving.
This is a massive over-simplification of course and there is a great deal to be said about the over processification of design and Design Thinking. Also, it’s worth noting that in almost any design project the designer is part of a team and that team solves the problem together. Of course problem is kind-of a negative way of thinking about things but for my purposes here it works.
What do we have a lot of right now?
More than 99 I’m willing to bet.
OK, so maybe not everything can be solved through design. But I guess that depends how wide we are willing to expand the concept. It is beyond question that design and creative thinking could solve at least some of the issues that we’ll all face over the coming weeks and months (and realistically years). Good old clichéd problem solving could actually help us all solve our problems.
If we work TOGETHER, as businesses, as communities, as teams, in solidarity, we can fix this.