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  Design Orientation and a new type of language


Post 1

Design Orientation and Finance Orientation sit at the same level of importance in business. The limits of a Finance Orientation have been found in a dramatic and climactic way. We are all suffering financially as a result.

Design Orientation will not replace Finance Orientation, it will complement it. Like finance, design is a tool to assist in achieving a successful business outcome. Design should never be seen as an end goal so that other mutually dependent areas of expertise such as finance are never held subject to it.

A finance-driven business culture is the end result of a belief in the enlightenment values of progress and modernism, typified by a pragmatic, straightforward and hard-nosed business approach to finance. The momentum-gaining narrative of sustainability demonstrates that less direct and more sensitive approaches are necessary to ensure the long term viability of business practice. Business needs a holistic approach that reflects this and one that is radically different from anything we've seen before. A major paradigm shift is necessary but it is unlikely to be born of single activity such as design.

I believe the answer lies in a new kind of language. At the open, dynamic and fountainous core of such a language will be a means to handle everything, including the language used to achieve such an objective. It will provide an unrivaled source of inspiration and creativity, which in service of people who value design is destined to bear much fruit.

The first practical manifestation of such a new language is Brand. Everything in reality is subject to identity and therefore also subject to branding and brand identity, including and perhaps particularly design. The products of design have no value unless they represent a nested set of ideas that form a brand identity and can be meaningfully directed to intervene in the world effectively.

Business is in trouble but it is looking in the wrong places for answers. Design and all its derivatives is one such place.

Post 2

What I appreciate about the term orientation is that it aligns things. The marks of an environment determines the experience of the environment and these marks can be oriented to compliment, reinforce and extend that experience.

It is not difficult to imagine multiple orientations which constitute over-riding and singular orientations. It is in this sense that the two orientations of design and finance exist on the same level.

An entity whose role it is to handle finances has a Financial Orientation. Ditto design and a Design Orientation. The two roles have their respective orientations. An orientation is an attribute of a role not a separate activity or function. The group entity is made up of a number of roles performed by entities with different, complementary and interdependent orientations.

Design is too limited a type of activity to adequately orient a whole organisation. Although Apple and Ikea bring to market oustanding product design their overall orientations are more effectively handled as innovative or creative. Innovation and creativity orient, configure and generate material directly from imperatives. An imperative is the substance of a brand, the reason and motivation for the brands existence and also the recognition of the possibility of the brand's existence.

Design is a tool which gives form to material generated by innovation and creativity to express an imperative. In this sense design cannot be fundamental.

Post 3

Consistent with my underlying premise, the notion that design is only a 'tool' can also be made to fail. I won't try to secure it from failure.

So, design is a means to give form to anything in the world or that can be imagined. A painter gives form to content and so design is a means to express an imperative. An unfortunate example in choice of medium as painting is unlikely to offer anything we haven't already exhausted.

It is relentless contextualisation that makes things fail. Innovation and creativity can, with a lot more effort, also be made to fail. Sadly, and as you've suggested innovation has some unfortunate baggage. To my mind innovation is a manifestation of creativity and therefore beyond the business failings with which it is now associated.

Creativity cannot be pinned down in the same way that design can be pinned down. It is tougher to make creativity fail because it is an overall approach; an overall orientation.

It is possible but unlikely that another management tool of the type and at the level you are looking to replace that design becomes effective. I think the effort is over before it's even begun. The next level of business success requires a far more profound solution, a solution which will change not only business but the way we experience the world.

I don't disagree with you. Your approach has merit. It may find a measure of success but from my perspective it is unlikely to be effective enough to establish widespread use.

Post 4

You've neglected to include 'or' in my description of design. A substantial error in your response. Design is a means to give form to things in the world or anything that can be imagined. 'Or' is quite important because my description covers everything in existence, even as yet unimagined future possibilities. Anything that can be imagined covers intangible things, in direct contrast to your objection. Please read my posts carefully before you attempt to take me to task on my own material.

Design gives form to a space by manipulating the terms that make up a space. All types of space are made up of terms that constitute the content of a space. Terms are by definition constraints, they establish and determine the conditions of a space. Design is not equipped with constraints other than the constraints required to shape spaces ie. the terms required for manipulating other terms. Design is primarily an activity concerned with handling the terms and thereby the content of spaces. Design does not generate content it shapes content, all types of content including content required to shape itself. Design can only function in the presence of content, real and imagined, tangible and intangible.

An orientation is about orientating and aligning things. An orientation does not describe the character or form of a space it describes what type of terms are engaged. A financial space is constrained by financial terms. This translates into financial content ie. terms are held as content. A financial orientation is an orientation equipped to take on the terms of a financial space. A design orientation is a set of terms able to take on the content of space that requires shaping. An orientation, like design, has nothing to do with generating content. It may invite, encourage, re-inforce and make content more useful through capabilities such as design but does not provide content.

This is not to say a designer doesn't generate content, only that the activity of design is about giving shape to content, in order to give expression to an imperative that requires a creative act. A creative act generates the content a designer shapes. Designers are normally creative people.

It appears you have not thought through the use of your own material in a manner thorough enough to withstand the kind of pursuit I have been exercising. You will have to pay closer attention to what I'm offering to make my points fail.

Post 5

I'm trying to find reason to take you seriously.

So far you seem to revel in a position contrary to mine. You appear to simply disagree with anyone who doesn't do your work for you. Your responses to me are veiled in polite inanities and come across as fatuous and facetious.

Design seems to be a malleable and slippery notion as you present it. You either assume it is axiomatic and respond in generic terms or engage it as if it is imbued with profoundly subjective and even pseudo-religious attributes, the substance of which only you have access.

So, give us a definition of design then. How is design fundamental? And if it is an inescapable and all encompassing approach as you suggest, what kind of approach is it? What sort of context and language is it couched in? And how does such an approach relate to the world in relation to content and experience?

You need to get specific. We, your public audience, need to be able to test whether what you propose is secure enough from failure so that your material might be worth offering to others as trade-worthy value.

Ironically as it stands, what you appear to mean by design is nebulous – to use your criticism of the broader all encompassing notions I've proposed such as creativity to which I believe design is entirely subject. Nebulous things are difficult to make fail but they also draw a response of 'so what'.

A few key notions will suffice. I challenge you to offer material that will not, with minimum effort, fail.

Post 6

This website is in the public domain and so it and it's contents are available for scrutiny. I make it my business to pursue material that is relatively secure from failure. I was hoping to find more secure material on this website.

It is my prerogative to conduct my investigation as I see fit. I don't need invitations and I do not have to tread lightly or be grateful that I have been engaged and, god forbid, not censored. This forum is open and appears to value transparency so I'm satisfied that my efforts are relatively secure.

Failure is not my aim. I do not pursue failure. I pursue material difficult to make fail. My words are chosen carefully and I am demonstrating a distinctive approach that is itself difficult to make fail. This approach and its correspondent material includes its own failure in the process of demonstrating how everything fails if pursued and consequently not subject to destructive self-reference that besets most existential systems.

Again, I need to point out how important 'if' is in the premise. All things fail 'if' pursued. This approach is relatively secure from failure because it shows us how we are able to make our way in the world. Material more secure from failure enables us to intervene in the world more effectively. A process that has a scientific basis in empiricism and is very familiar to designers looking to improve products.

Design qualified as a form giving-activity is difficult to make fail. I value design for this singular reason and on this basis call myself a designer. I cannot think of a better way to introduce a form-giving activity other than as design. Design has a very specific role to play in how we make our way in the world. On this basis I would agree that design is a fundamental human process. I wouldn't be so bold as to offer it as a singular process to which every human activity is subject.

The material proposed via 'Design is Fundamental' operates on too many assumptions, all of which fail with little effort. The proposed material does not adequately address issues of content in relation to the world, how we as human beings experience content and what part design plays in handling content.

It is not difficult to demonstrate instances where design has nothing to do with a 'Creative Problem Solving Process'. Design is often brought to bear on content generated in a creative act. Design is not required to think creatively.

Scientists, mathematicians, politicians or pastors do not require design to solve their problems. And they are highly unlikely to use the term 'design'. Challenging convention is part of a creative act. Material not previously identified is all that is required to constitute a creative act. No design is required to generate material.

If you would like to re-read my posts in isolation they are available on my website. You will find that I am building a case consistent with the underlying premises stated in my initial posts on this website. I am in the process of demonstrating a radical rethinking of what we as designers and creative people can offer the world. I am proposing material that may at first appear obscure but I am confident that one day this approach will be commonplace and the world will be a much better place as a result.

Post 7

You continuously miss the purpose of my propositions.

Content as I've referred to it is qualified as the terms that make up a space, environment or medium. The terms establish the conditions of the space ie. the content of the space.

For example, the space literally and physically taken up by an iPod is made up of the components of the iPod. The components can be understood as the terms of the iPod. The iPod is itself an item in a social space shared by people and in this sense can be handled as a term of an environment such as a home or office. All these terms can be shaped by a product or interior designer ie. to make up the iPod itself or shaped further as an object that defines the experience of it as an improved object or as an object experienced as part of an environment such as a home.

There is always context. A vacuum is not an option but there is the abstract linguistic space you've not yet pointed out and to which much of my material is dedicated. And which appears to frustrate your general approach.

Terms only have value and meaning in context. The world is the context and the world provides content. The world in a sense is content. This is all that is available to be 'designed'.

Because the design process is defined by the human mind does not mean that the human mind cannot be removed from design. The human mind gives design meaning. Design is a term that has acquired meaning for individuals and more importantly for groups of people. It has social currency but no inherent meaning and there is no ideal interpretation of design.

All the form-giving activities that define an aspect of human culture or that in some way describe the human condition can be usefully held as design. You are attempting to socialise design as something more than it is ever likely to be.

And the 'design act' is what exactly?! Giving shape or form to content?! I would completely agree. This is a very useful definition. Other than this you are making generic and vague statements or just being obscure in your attempt to make design the fundamental connection to all things.

You have not pursued my points sufficiently to make them fail and so they still stand. They WILL fail but not with your present approach. To assert a contrary position is juvenile. We are not dealing with personal religious faith that cannot be validated.

Perhaps more research on your part would help you grasp what I'm proposing. Research that includes a means to make sense of art, science, religion and philosophy. Otherwise, you will continuously be found wanting in your views of how design can fulfill your stated ambition. Not just by me but by people who think about media and how media mediates reality. These people constitute a social reality to which you and I are subject.

I do not need you to point out the limits of my reality. Your points relating to what I or 'my followers' may personally or collectively believe are without substance and appear condescending.

Post 8

Of course I am correct in the context of my reality but it is clearly not my ambition to realise this. And neither is it your ambition to realise that in your context you are also correct, otherwise you wouldn't be trying to socialise your ideas via your website and I wouldn't be posting reponses to your material.

It is also not my ambition to be correct. I am looking for tools to be more effective. Given the effort involved in considering your material and responding to your posts, in combination with your apparent need to always have the last word I find that your are also quite patronising – to add to an already long list of critical assessments.

Without any concessions to the points I've made I can only interpret your approach as an attempt to find a position of authority. On this basis you may find me going out of my way to ensure your material is publicly challenged. I continue to invite you to challenge my material. I want to see how it fails so that I can replace it with more effective versions.

Your last response is a personal rebuke and clearly a bid to see me leave your space. It is a convenient way to avoid expending further energy trying to influence me within the scope and range of your attention.


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