Designing our
Creative Futures

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.

Getting Creative about Victoria’s Future — a discussion paper published last week by Creative Victoria

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.

Design innovations referenced in the report — like the cochlear implant, polymer banknotes, and Keep-Cup — are fantastic design cases, and they’re all things.

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.

Keep-Cup is a (wonderful) design object

The other kind of design is one that recognised

the barista was a key user, that making the cup desirable creates an important signalling function around sustainability, and that being a good company trumps good marketing.

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.

Check out the latest issue of Offscreen Magazine for a great interview
with Mark Hurrell about how great design does more than make great websites.

Closer to home, look at how design creates impact in areas of government, business, cultural industries, community, and — yes — even education.

Thick use service design to re-imagine how government services interact with the public…
Yoko Akama’s Community in Emergency Management — enabling a community-based innovation from DESIS Lab Melbourne & SDNM.

Yoko Akama (who runs our Service Design course) uses design to enable community-based innovation, particularly around emergency situations and preparedness.

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.


Thanks to the Saturday Paper for their story on Creative Vic’s task force.
This story first appeared on our blog.

Master of Design Futures

RMIT University’s Master of Design Futures is an accelerated post-professional program for experienced designers wanting to apply their skills to strategic and leadership roles.

The program begins in late July, 2015

Get in touch, see how the program is structured, or read more about the program. You can Apply Here.




Work & thoughts from the Master of Design Futures program @RMIT @rmitMDF

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Jeremy Yuille

Jeremy Yuille

Principal @WeAreMeld Melbourne. Designer, coach, learner, seeker, musician

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