Darwin and DesignPosted by emma in blog July 24, 2012
The Aspen Ideas Festival came to a close last week following nearly 3 weeks of remarkable lectures and vibrant intellectual exchange across an array of subject areas including the arts, technology, environment and health. Former Olympians joined writers, artists, teachers and business-persons in true TED style to question, answer, teach and stimulate discussion around some of the most relevant global challenges. Playful Parenting Finding the God Particle, the Future of Children’s Health and Darwinian Design Thinking were some of the lectures and seminars that dotted the super impressive programme. (Wish I was there – d*mmit). For those of us who chose to persevere with a soggy London this July, rather than bask in the warm Colorado sunshine amongst the world’s intellectual glitterati, there is hope. We can delve deeply into this world of ideas, thought and discussion here. There is a lot to navigate and digest with guest blogs, videos and a bookstore for some inspired summer holiday reading (rather than that trashy Jilly Cooper novel).
A highlight among the lectures accessible online for me, was Tim Brown’s thoughtful piece on evolutionary design. No stranger to the debate on design thinking, Tim champions the role of designers in solving some of the key global challenges. Like Tim, us Futerrans were quick to fathom the complexity and interrelatedness of some of these global challenges during a team exercise last week. In this exercise we took at stab at mapping some of the significant global challenges and events of the 20th and 21st century and making linkages with our work.
According to Tim, tackling the complexity of these challenges is paramount. And this requires a paradigm shift for the practice of design to embrace a more evolutionary approach. He encourages us to think less like Newton and more like Darwin. This doesn’t mean less falling apples and more Galápagos finches. It means applying the ideas and principles that we use to create better products and services to some of the most important challenges of our time. His lecture at Aspen (the 2 minute version) can be viewed here.
This important shift in design thinking is significant for us here at Futerra, especially as we start to map some of the key global challenges with our work. If you are familiar with our work you will know that sustainability is fundamental to what we do here. It is part of our mission and as a future-focused business we will be increasingly rationalising what we do day-to-day with some of these key global challenges. It is this type evolutionary design thinking matched with sexy creative (of course) that will thwart that impeding event horizon.