The April Update
Summer is only three and a half weeks away. That means finishing this term strong.
Recently I have been enraptured by this concept of “design”. It all started at Benetech I would say. My boss had me compile a list of companies with Corporate Social Responsibility. Among those companies was IDEO.
At first, I had wondered what IDEO was about. It seemed to me like a company that produced ideas and was rather profitable. That sounded a bit odd to me at the time. About three months later, I read a blog post that led to a video link that then led to a lot of clicking that eventually directed itself to IDEO. I went on Amazon, perused the virtual shelves, and found David Kelley’s book on Creative Confidence and design thinking. I watch a few of his Ted Talks and an hour later, I knew this was it.
Design Thinking is all about designing products from the consumer’s point of view. Engineers get wrapped up in utility and functionality. But pair the engineer’s problem solving skills with good design and you get brilliant products. Products that can navigate the social world and get maximum usage for its utility.
A few examples of what David Kelley designed are the Apple mouse and Tivo’s remote control. Now David Kelley is venerable, but he became even more respectable when I discovered he was the head of Stanford’s d. School. Now I have always planned to go to Graduate School, but this realization narrowed it down. Stanford d. School is my dream school, where I hope to get a Masters in Mechanical Engineering with Design emphasis.
The main takeaway I hope to gain from all the studying, hard work, and goals, is the ability to design products that can have a high impact on the world. Although there are many ways one can impact the world, I feel a strong calling toward lifting people out of extreme poverty and enabling the highest, truest versions of themselves as a human being.
The word high impact means to me solving problems with a big solution, and not by addressing problems with small solutions. What I mean by this is I want to design products that can truly solve the problem in a big way. I couldn’t narrow this realization down before, but it hit me hard when I read this article by the SSIR (http://www.ssireview.org/blog/entry/energy_philanthropy_is_high_impact_philanthropy). In conjunction, I am also reading Sustainable Materials with Both Eyes Open by Julian M Allwood and Jonathan M Cullen. In Sustainable Materials, they describe the energy sources required to make certain end products. An example would be plastic bags. When people started getting charged for plastic bags, plastic bag use dropped significantly. However, when one compares the amount of plastic a plastic bag uses to the milk container, cookie packaging, and other supplies that the bag carried inside of it, plastic bags comprised only around 1% of all plastic use. Yes, this change was a step forward, however, in the whole outcome of things, it doesn’t change much.
My goal is to read a bit of Sustainable Materials everyday. Another book I am reading is The Creator’s Code by Amy Wilkinson. Although others may see it as a bit repetitive, I personally enjoy the stories that she adds in to support her points. The Creator’s Code offers six important rules that creators such as Airbnb to Under Armour CEOs use.
There is still a lot to learn, and right now, my main goal is to get more inspired. And to accrue more rudimentary knowledge.