Two simple words can make the difference between seeing something that just “is” to something that could be almost anything we want.
Noema Magazine recently published an article from Yakov Feygin and Nils Gilman entitled The Designer Economy. Feygin and Gilman are not traditional designers looking at products and services, they are business writers and scholars looking at economies. What they’ve done is take what we know about economic planning and reimagined what it might mean to apply design thinking to it.
What they have done is add a word designer to something that normally doesn’t have it.
The result is a provocation to policy makers and economists to create policies, practices and structures that better design economies to be fit-for-purpose. This means thinking about things like users (people), institutions, and how we create the future we want, not just replicate what we’ve already done.
Futures and Economy Design
This involves things we know about design like exploring possible futures. Futures is a part of design practice that gets us to consider what kind of world we are designing into and how we want our products, services, and policies to fit into that work and shape it. It’s bringing data together with creative imagination.
In a design framework, economic policy focuses on constructing and reaching a specifically envisioned future. This is different from traditional industrial strategy: It doesn’t “pick winners,” but rather pushes government agencies to have a broad awareness of technological and economic trends in order to promote specific potentialities.
Economists think about the future all the time; what makes a design approach different is how that thinking and the actions that came from it are framed. There is no single future or preferred one, but many possible changing and emerging futures. This dynamism means that the beneficiaries, key actors, and overall effects are in play and must be understood dynamically.
Adaptive Design Language
What’s exciting about this language is how it focuses on equipping people to make change happen within a changing, uncertain future. This is resilience-making. It’s also assertive in its recognition of how creating the right tools for the right challenge is how we adapt by design. When we are anticipating changes, we’ll design systems to help us meet those changes.
What if we were to add the word Designer to other systems?
Designer Healthcare .
Why not a Designer Education System?
Or how about Designer Philanthropy?
We could add designer to almost anything. In doing so, we could prepare a range of sectors for the dynamism of what’s here and to come.
My point with all of this is that we can add designer to anything. In doing so, we start to change how we think and speak about what we are doing.
This is designing new systems with a new language. Once we incorporate the language of design into the fields we work and the spaces we live, we give ourselves permission to shape them into what we want and need, not just reform what we have.
The language of design is a starting point for getting us to think, see and act differently with a future-minded orientation. If you want and need help doing this with your organization let’s talk.
Image Credits: Hunter So on Unsplash