Design & the human endeavour

In conversation with my favourite professor, 15 years later.  

I recently had the great delight of lunch with my original Design professor from the early 2000s. At UTS' Faculty of Design, Dr John Broadbent originally introduced me to visionary exponential thinking and the deepest aspects of design.

Some 15 years after those first classes, sharing delicious mezze, we continued our thread of conversation. John considers design at the heart of the"great integration of the human endeavour”. We must continually embrace our unique capacity and responsibility as humans to positively impact the condition around us.

Design is change

We may think of designers as people who create objects, experiences, apps, buildings, even logos or clothing. But as humans, we all share the capacity to design. To look at problems with imagination and explore a better solution. Everything around us in the built environment started as a problem that someone tried to solve or improve.

The designer mindset is available to each of us. It can be activated instantly. You don’t need 4 years of Design School to ask better questions, or reframe problems. It doesn’t matter if you work in accounting, or as a home-schooling parent, or a startup founder. You have the creative ability to start designing a better way.

Years into his ‘retirement', John is far from finished with his design journey. He has just finished a decade long conservation project that will see a large natural eco-sanctuary presevered in perpetuity from construction or development.

"We are at a very critical point in humanity's existence. We live in a world dominated by redundant, outmoded models, so much in need of new models which bring together human aspirations and technological potentialities." He remains an inspiration for us all to do our part in the great integration of the human endeavour.

Further reading

IDEO's Tim Brown: Change by Design.

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