The People Imperative

The People Imperative
Good design is a reflection of life. Life is about interaction, growth and the pursuit of bliss. Trends come and go. But embracing design and opening our minds to innovation should be a habit.
If you’re an aspiring creative with big dreams yet blissfully unaware of the Design Indaba… Now would be a good time to feel deeply immersed in shame.Like most people, I have a friend – highly creative, exceptionally opinionated and addicted to pursuing change as her eyes burn with the glimmer of rebellion. She did what she could and fatefully ended up in an agency offering the service of Design Thinking.  It was she who first introduced me to The Design Indaba – a magnificent magnifying glass of sorts, focused on all the new trends emerging in the world of design and business and then some. Like an ignoramus, my first question was, “Why should I care about design?” My idiocy was answered with a slap, spinning my head around and towards the Design Indaba.As a platform for discovery, those smothered in naivety like myself will be amazed while those in the know are undoubtedly drowned in an ocean of sheer joy. The Indaba itself is quite spectacular purely based on the amount of information you’re confronted with. So don’t be surprised when you’re lost in wonderment from witnessing the true power of creativity at work. In all honesty, the Design Indaba is about people coming together to communicate and explore ideas.Those fortunate enough to soak in the creativity of previous gatherings may remember when author Lauren Beukes explored fiction as an incredible form of telepathy; Sir John Hegarty delved into challenging the status quo; Porky Hefer inspired with his piece on turning something negative into something positive… The amount of events, activities, talks and everything else that can be categorised as “designedly awesome” is merely the icing on a cake which has hardly been sliced!I revert back to my initial question: Why should I care about design? Well, for starters, The British Council put forward a report in 2013 stating that 2.5 million jobs were generated through industries and individuals focused on creativity. Most of these jobs were created by entrepreneurial endeavours, helmed by a fair amount of unorthodox, out-of-the-box creatives – the kind of people who take ownership of their own future as opposed to melting away in the grayscale life of an uninspiring nine to five.In 2008 Hull University UK was interested enough in the creative economy to document the various industries where creative classes were employed. Those innovative entrepreneurs are easily found in the fields of advertising, architecture, the art and antiques market, crafts, design, designer fashion, film, interactive leisure software (ie. video games), music, the performing arts, publishing, software, television and radio. You may run out of breath trying to recite it all!It should be obvious that everything is based on some form of design. And everything can always be redesigned. It’s the organic side of life and business we often take for granted. Things don’t have to stay the same because they work when they can change to simply be better. Consequentially, it only makes sense for the slogan of The Design Indaba to be ”a better world through creativity.”
“The creative economy is ‘the interface between creativity, culture, economics and technology as expressed in the ability to create and circulate intellectual capital, with the potential to generate income, jobs and export earnings while at the same time promoting social inclusion, cultural diversity and human development.’ (British Council 2012)”
And now, I ask again: Why should I, or anyone, care about design? As a person, how does it matter to me? To answer this, I’ll spread some wisdom by author and academic, Richard Florida, who notes how the creative economy logically depends on the creative class. With this in mind, the most critical aspect of any economy is the people (or so the sane believe). This is what Florida calls, ’The People Imperative’. He goes further by explaining how, “People are an economic asset, and for economic development we not only attract and recruit companies, we attract and recruit people.” In other words, it’s a belated realisation that without people you have no product and most certainly no service to deliver.Good design is a reflection of life. Life is (or should be) about interaction, growth and the pursuit of bliss. Trends come and go. But embracing design and opening our minds to innovation should be a habit. Look around and you’ll see the impact of design, the way it inspires entrepreneurs and gives companies like Apple Inc. new life. Before I go rambling over a cliff, it should be said, if men like Steve Jobs have taught us anything, it would be that nothing ever fades away – it simply gets redesigned.Frederik Ferreira, Contributing Author 
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Featured Image Jonathan Billinger via Wikimedia Commons