Ten reasons why designers should be the ones setting sail for the future

Last week we hosted our 18th IIAB Talk — this time on how we question the future through design.

Together with almost 100 other designers we discussed the powers of design and how we can take an active part in shaping a responsible future. As one of the speakers stated;

“The future will happen whether we engage with it or not. If we don’t take active part in shaping it - someone else will”

The question is then, why are designers particularly well-equipped to shape the future and what are the different ways in which designers can ensure meaningful impact?

As designers, design-doers and design-thinkers we all know that the notion of being a ‘designer’ is not easily defined. That can lead to some confusing conversations when discussing your work with your grandmother. Having four speakers and a diverse audience helping us in reflecting on the powers of design, we found that despite our differences we have a shared language across design practices. In its essence it is less important how designers are different, and more important what is shared between us. Therefore, we have collected 10 points from the IIAB Talk on the shared powers of design in setting direction for the future!

  1. Conversations
    that build bridges between people and facilitates spaces
    where neglected voices are heard.
  2. Empathy
    with humans and the planet as starting
    point for decision-making.
  3. Critique
    of the past, present and future by asking
    challenging questions about what we take for granted.
  4. Speculations
    on status quo and provocations
    for ‘what could be’
  5. Holistic understandings
    of the world that considers the
    broader context and impact.
  6. Strategic potential
    that facilitate direction through collaboration
    and high standards for change.
  7. Creativity
    that is bold and curious about the world.
  8. Tangible representation
    of the abstract to enable others
    to relate to intangible matters.
  9. References
    to other contexts for unexpected sources of learning
    and inspiration that already exist in our world.
  10. Facilitating organizational alignment
    through strong storytelling and narratives that create
    shared understandings of desirable futures.

We know that design is evolving every day and that these points are not exhaustive - but as the design practice grows, we continue to explore and experiment with its powers. Share with us what you believe is unique about design and what it is that makes it fit to shape the future!

Reach out to Sara Said Mosleh at sara@isitabird.dk