How do you discuss creative strategy?
More importantly, how do you do this creatively?
Creative Victoria has some interesting thoughts on how we should approach the future of Victoria’s creative industries in their Getting Creative about Victoria’s Future discussion paper.
It’s great to see design enjoying a place at the table alongside the Arts and other cultural industries, but I think this paper misses an important aspect of what design brings to situations.
Good design makes great things.
Great design makes great things possible.
Let me explain.
Good Design makes Great Things
There are two broad kinds of design at play here,
loosely split into nouns and verbs:
There’s the kind of design that crafts elegant responses to thorny problems. Take the Keep-Cup: it approaches the material sustainability problem of take-away cups, by designing a reusable cup that people & baristas actually want to use. Keep-Cup is a (wonderful) object of design.
This is Design. Noun.
The other kind of design is one that recognised
This is designing. Verb.
With projects like Keep-Cup, the design or object often overshadows any designing that makes that object successful, or even possible. Designers sometimes refer to this invisible stuff of a design as dark matter — we know it’s there, but it’s very hard to observe directly, quantify, or describe.
How can see the dark matter of designing?
One place to glimpse this invisible value is the design of services — those weightless, intangible processes that we all engage with every day. Design innovates services in profound ways: just look at how the Government Digital Service shifted how the UK government interacts with citizens.
Great Design makes
Great Things possible.
There’s no doubt that good design makes great things. It can also develop the conditions and capacity for creativity to thrive. Designerly approaches like co-design, experience centeredness, and prototyping do more than create better solutions. They involve stakeholders in creating better questions.
A wonderful by-product of this designerly process is: the more people are attuned to the subtleties of the problem space, and more they see themselves in the subsequent solutions.
Buy in? …it was our idea to begin with!
Done well, design helps spread creative capacity across all parts of an organisation. Or a society.
Now that’s a Creative Future I want to be a part of.