Good design is about solving problems. It doesn’t come from galleries that show other people’s solutions to problems that may or may not resemble yours. You have to get off your ass, think creatively and be ready to innovate. WebVisions NYC speaker Maria Giudice lays it out in a TedX Presidio talk from 2011:
As Maria says, designers can have a huge impact right now, on a global scale. Old systems are falling away and designers can literally create the future and make it better.
IDEO’s Tim Brown has been looking at megacities, trying to determine how to maintain and increase livability for the people who live in them. He poses some brain scratching questions:
How might we redesign cities to increase the wealth and health of the majority of inhabitants?
How might we use open spaces in cities to promote wellness?
How might we reduce the amount of surface area currently dedicated to cars (now around 30%)?
How might we design new services to help city dwellers achieve sustainable livelihoods?
How mights we rethink zoning rules and exploit emerging digital-manufacturing technologies to bring work closer to where people live?
These sorts of questions pared down to a smaller scale are exactly the kind of thing we’re doing with Hackathons for Social Good. Designers and do-good nonprofits are working together to identify a problem and develop creative solutions to solve it. We’re not at the Tim Brown level of resources to tackle the world’s gigantic mega problems. But we can take the smaller bites to make it easier for organizations to do their part to make the world a better place. Put together 15-20 of those, and maybe we’ve got ourselves a Tim Brown level of problem solving.