The last version of this presentation about design consciousness that I posted here was offered to a class of marketing students at a business school in San Francisco. This one is a presentation to a class of divinity student at the Pacific School of Religion here in Berkeley. The course is called Design Thinking for Social Change. Needless to say, the presentation has evolved significantly – partly to address an audience with a far different context for understanding “consciousness”, and partly because my thinking about design consciousness continues to evolve as I write about and teach it.
Design consciousness, in my framing, is borne simply out of our awareness that we live in a world that is largely of our own (human) making. If we consider that everything was put into the form it holds by some process that we might refer to as “design” (by the logic that the form of a thing IS its design), then the only choice we have when setting out to intentionally create change, is to design it mindlessly or with awareness of what we are doing…to design it poorly, or design it with the best of intention, and to design it well.
Design thinking is a framework for intentional creative action that has emerged over the past few decades. It is designed to allow people to collaborate on creative challenges in the social sphere that they face mindfully and with skill. One can quibble about the specific mindsets, steps and methods one employs in designing just about anything – but not about the need to bring mindful attention to every act of human creation.
It is in this awareness that I seek to ground students as they grapple with the ambiguities and gratification of design thinking.