The other night I had the privilege of listening/hosting Bruce Mau, social thinker, designer extraordinaire and author of Massive Change. I have heard Bruce speak before, but the intimateness of the locale made it quite a personable and informative evening. Mau has a fantastically optimistic approach and thinks on a huge scale for those of you that dont know. For many the ultimate in design might be a plane or car, but Mau looks further to the infrastructures and behaviors these products live in. As he says "It's not about the world of design. It's about the design of the world."
-He sees design as the ability to solve real problems fueled by'creatively, compassionately applied-intelligence' to the real problems faced by billions of people. Thank you for not being another creative director so focused on winning awards.
The American Consumer Culture
-Americans currently behave and consume much more so than anyone else on earth. In fact Americans on average consume so much, it will take 4 earths to satisfy their wants. But this isn't as dreadful as it sounds, as Bruce says eventually we will have to curb our behavior and change since there is one earth. I just wonder what the tipping point will be be and what will trigger it?
-American cars aren't given the credit they deserve. They have have averaged an efficiency increase of about 1.6% over the last 20 years. Which is a fairly high number when it comes to sustainability. Makes me wonder how are these brands really communicating their products? I can't think of American car in the last 20 years i consider innovative.
The Traffic Problem
-The problem with cars and pollution is not the cars or the exhaust emissions. People all over the world are currently working on this. The problem is the people, their traffic patterns, and the required infrastructure. Break that, and you can solve the real problem. Still scary to almost ignore it, but Bruce is looking at the deeper and more meaningful context here.
Design is about the Future
-Design is not just about unleashing functionality or self-prescribed benefits. Good design can change human behavior or thought processes, and that makes design truly about the future.
-Possibly the most eye-popping point of the night. Currently the areas that receive the greatest amount of solar energy are also the world's poorest. Meaning someday they have the potential with solar power to be the richest.. Incredible.
-Humans are more involved in design than one would first think. Just look at animals. Yes animals. We have been designing our dogs for centuries and now Israelis have designer chickens, modified with no feathers for the hot arid desert. Not to mention designer babies, with modified genes and whatnot. We have some serious ethical questions ahead of us.
One quote to sum it all up "Now that we can do anything, what will we do?" -BM
All in all a fantastic evening. More to come, stay tuned to Lifefilter.