In his Earth Day column, Bob Langert, former VP of Sustainability at McDonald's, calls for the nonprofit and business communities to collaboratively engage consumers by bringing their respective assets to the table. If I've learned anything from working in this field, it is that no sector or organization has the capacity to create change on its own, and that continued progress will depend on robust partnerships.
Insights, inspiration and opportunities to create a more vibrant and resilient future.
Frustration and Its Antidotes
Last week’s essay was prescient. By Friday, I had encountered enough frustrations to be completely flummoxed. Barriers energize me, rather than exhaust. The challenge isn’t to find a way to rest, but to let go, and calm down. There is only so much one can do to influence factors that are ultimately outside of our immediate control; knowing when you’ve exhausted the possibilities is key.
This new article from the Impact Design Hub highlights the importance of using long-term outcomes to guide design processes. While this approach requires overcoming the typical focus on short-term results, be they products or policies, I think that it has the potential to positively influence impact-based projects.
The Nature of the Game
Frustration is the norm. Too often, I ignore the emotional content of my work, as if it were irrelevant. As a designer, I’ve become acclimated to not only the discontinuity between what is and what could and should be, but also the barriers impeding progress from one state to another. The world doesn’t want to change.
The division was clear. The distinction between my suburb and the city of Detroit was both a physical street, and a profound racial, economic and cultural divide. The border defined “us" from “them.” Growing up there, I can’t recall anyone making an attempt to bridge that border.
Now in its third year, Japan's Future Cities Initiative was created to address emerging challenges by empowering cities to reimagine themselves as resilient "eco-cities." The country is already facing issues, such as climate impacts and an aging population, that will eventually affect the entire world, and I am curious to see what best practices and lessons emerge from this program.
Going 'Round the Bend
Spring is for reflecting. Each year, the beginning of April puts me in a certain contemplative mood. Rather than bore you with yet another dark-night-of-the-soul rumination on the state of the world, and my attempt to assert my white male privilege to change it to better serve both me and my offspring, I thought I would instead share several heretofore confidential projects that my team and I have been working on. Our ultimate goal isn’t to make a difference, but rather to make each and every person that our undertakings touch smile, if only for a moment, with the thought, “Those crazy kids."