DesignThinking Entry #1 — Context Bubbles and Why They Matter.

Let’s put things into perspective.

Just so you can understand my brain better: Academically, I am a Philosophy and Sociology double major. Professionally, I’m a Digital Strategist and Project manager with a background in marketing and Event production.

And I can get really meta.

DesignCofounders Design Agency — Where the Applied Design Thinking course is held.

Last week I started a course on Applied Design Thinking. And we were told to further reflect on what Context means to us and to speak on our own context.

The purpose of the context breakdown is to do so with a goal in mind. A goal to solve a problem; a wicked problem.

I will not get into my problem/goal before I completely breakdown my understanding of Context. Which is what I intend to do here.

Let’s first take a look into what context really mean to me.

The way I see context is quite similar how Nael Shawwa explains it:

the outcome of an ongoing process throughout our lives that weaves different layers on top of some layers, in between other layers, or discarding (completely or even partially) other layers, creating our current understanding of any idea, event, or situation.

Only difference is that I define Contexts as bubbles that interact and influence other bubbles as time passes by.

With this model, we can see each circle, or bubble, containing a collective of components that determine its Context. And as time passes by, the Context Bubbles interact with other bubbles and continue to grow and change.

Humans change. We are BE-ings. And by default, beings cannot help but change over time. Regardless of how the change is, change occurs as time goes by.

And with that said: we can determine our Contextual Growth depending on how many different bubbles we interact with.

But what about those bubbles that aren’t interacting?

They are the ones that do not change much over time. They are only comfortable interacting with the same Bubbles time and time again

How do Context Bubbles grow?

By interacting with other context bubbles.

And every bubble grows with more context as it interacts with other bubbles of unfamiliar contexts.

If someone is secluded and lives in a very robotic way; works the same job; sees the same people; reads the same types of books, that person is bound to grow very little. Just like how their Context Bubble would.

And vice versa.

Executive Context vs. Associate Context. Spot the difference?

Above, we can see the confidence of an executive exerted in typing a one-worded email vs. an associate that is anxious and extra polite. All because of the different contexts. The different Bubbles. 
Had the associate interacted more with an executive, their email would’ve been quite different.

The only one variable that we cannot change is TIME. The third dimension only allows us to witness time as it passes by us since we are stuck within it (time). And our contexts are reliant on time to be the witness of all the changes that occur on all of the Context bubbles that exist in this world.

But if we were in the 4th of 5th dimension, we would, at the least, be able to foresee our future moves. Predict our Context Bubbles. And control who we would bump into or interact with. We would literally be able to see split second lapses of ourselves in the future and we can maneuver back and forth as we wish through a time travel portal. Similar to the one in the movie Donnie Darko.

Too bad we’re still on the 3rd Dimension.


Why does this all matter?

Context matters. Context formulates tailored experiences, opinion and ideologies. And its the pillar umbrella that makes us individuals rather than clones. Or robots.

Context is the reason why Malcom x’s “Stand for something or fall for anything” makes sense.

And for us to breakdown what makes us who we are, is to determine what we would be interested in. What we would rather do to make a living. How we would live. The lifestyle we would like to lead.

All of which are goals and objectives that can be done through a specific framework.

I’ll dive into frameworks on my next entry.


This is entry #1.
Written for Design Cofounders’ Applied Design Thinking course.

Thanks Mustefa Jo'shen for pushing us to really think about our contexts.

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