I love working with designers and I’ve worked with some of the best designers and design thinkers. Not every designer can become design thinkers. I am guessing 80% of all designers are design craftsman. The craft is an important anchor, and you need it as a foundation. One thing that I think is very interesting is to consider teach designers about economics. Designers have been designing things for the 15% or 20% of the world’s population that can afford those things. But imagine design ideas that benefit the other 80% of the population but can still make a decent economic return?
If we are smart we need think how to reverse that ratio. An example would be the biggest need for the third world is finding a way to make more some money. Martin Fisher, an engineer who founded KickStart, an organization that has helped 230,000 people escape poverty. It sells human-powered pumps costing $35 to $95. We call this kind of business “Social Ventures.” It is so coolest thing for MBA these days. Imagine a different class of designers that called themselves “Social Designers”? I think hat’s even cooler.
Many designers are simply not ready to tackle the world’s biggest and most wicked problems. Doing a quick health check for designers, you can discover the following problems:
Narcissistic Organogram Condition: A delusion caused by an obsessive desire to dream big simply for the reason of dreaming big. Totally ignore the realities and without paying attention to the fact that the mission is a commercial undertaking. Suddenly the designer’s role is to change the world. And he/she becomes the chosen one. Watching Matrix too many times.
Atypical CSR Fetish: Not to confuse I am all for CSR, here I am referring to small group of sufferers that see all design activities as having an social responsibility dimension often characterized by inappropriate vocalization of irrelevant issues using CSR words in meetings just to gain attention. But has no clue to make CSR real
Award-Seeking Addiction: Awards are not bad things when many design deserve recognition. But when one is becoming too desperate to the extent that it becomes the sole mission. A total inability not to waste time and effort chasing any types of award, plaque or badge that has no relevance to the real impact of the design idea.
Human Factor Memory Loss: A fugue like state, this involves forgetting all aspects of human factor and assuming that user will perform any kind of tricks to get something done. Designers often understand many of these design principles but cannot apply them when designing products or experiences and violate every human factor rules.