Can We Design 2050?

Much of what I read warns that “green shoots” talk of economic recovery is feel-good propaganda, that the classic liberal economic growth model of industrial capitalism needs radical re-engineering, that Western-style production and consumption demanded by 9-10 billion people would require four to five Planet Earths to support, and that we are entering a period of calamitous social upheaval as a consequence.

When the drumbeat of dire prognoses becomes too incessant, alarm turns to numbness. The way designers deal with the anxiety of uncertainty is to start designing. We believe, like Herb Simon, that the way to work on ill-defined, “wicked” problems is what he first labeled Design Thinking … to begin doing stuff even if you are not sure you know what or why you are doing it. Just go in anywhere, says Simon, start working your way through stochastically, hypothesize and test, trial and error, and you will discover the shape and boundaries of the problem. Continue reading “Can We Design 2050?”