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Every designer has defining moments that shape their vision and professional trajectory. For me, such a turning point emerged during my Final Bachelor Project about the future of the Internet. I was intrigued by how much the world had changed under the influence of the web and eager to think about how we could use Design to look at its future.
Instead of looking forward to the future, my project became a journey into the past; as I studied the Internet and its effect on our society, I also delved into what we have already lost and what we could lose if we continue with our current habits, whether it be from an environmental or social standpoint. The project evolved into exploring the possible transformation of the Internet into something more sustainable and socially responsible. Through my Final Bachelor Project, I discovered how I, as a designer, could contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future. It inspired my vision of Design and directed my curiosity and growth during my master's studies.
Global issues require us to reassess our ways of life, which are becoming increasingly unsustainable. Current capitalist models, focusing primarily on immediate gains, show their flaws, particularly when faced with social pressures and crises such as climate change. Neoliberalism, the prevailing political ideology advocating market deregulation, free trade, and privatization, has driven economic growth and innovation. However, this often comes at the expense of environmental and societal well-being. This model struggles to tackle our complex, interconnected problems, which call for collective, long-term solutions.
Therefore, we must rethink our approach and explore alternatives emphasizing sustainability and social justice. We are at a significant turning point, but old habits and ingrained ideologies often slow our progress. In response, we often lean on what feels safe and least disruptive, like science and technology, which have been prominent features of our neoliberal society. They have thrived under these policies, frequently offering solutions that align with market demands. This encourages a belief that technology and scientific innovation can be a one-stop solution for all problems.
However, our reliance on technology is not a comprehensive solution. We must carefully analyze this approach, understanding the potential consequences of solely relying on 'technological fixes' for complex problems. Despite the allure of scientific and technological progress, it is crucial to acknowledge that these 'solutions' might spring from the same mindset causing the problems and could potentially worsen rather than solve them.
To break the impasse, we are in and address the crises of our time, we need a high degree of awareness about what is at stake and what needs to change. Design emerges as a way forward. Its capacity to critique, reshape, and reimagine offers ways to address the issues we face. Firstly, Design challenges us to be critical, compelling us to confront uncomfortable truths and stimulate debates through activities like Design Activism. It encourages us to question the status quo, search for inconsistencies, and develop our capacity to observe rather than merely look. However, Design is not just about criticism; it also empowers us to rethink and innovate. Disciplines such as Social Design, Systems Design, and Low-Tech Design embody the potential to establish more sustainable, socially equitable structures. This tendency to redesign is not merely about reactive fixes but proactive shifts that transform our norms. Lastly, Design directs our gaze toward the future. Speculative- and Future-oriented Design allows us to visualize alternate paths, free from the limitations of the status quo. They offer glimpses of potential realities driven by the hope of a sustainable, just, and equitable world. Through this lens, Design goes beyond being just a field of study; it serves as a tool to confront our fears, plan for our hopes, and visualize our dreams for the future.
As a designer, I aim to transform our systems and structures with patience and an open mind. I have developed my critical thinking skills to the point that I can look beyond the status quo and identify potential areas for transformation. I can quickly assess these areas and get a good initial understanding of possible ways forward.
Idealistically bringing change
I am an idealist and passionate about staying true to my values and principles. Whenever I make decisions, I always ensure that I align with my values and try to share my perspectives with those around me. It is not just about practicing what I preach; I strive to be a source of change in my life and work and inspire others to do the same.
I strive to cultivate a global perspective of the design case in my design processes. This involves considering stakeholders' perspectives and looking at the design case from a broader viewpoint, such as the earth's or society's perspective. By merging and combining these perspectives, I can better understand the design case and its context. This helps me to better evaluate the implications of a potential design solution and to consider the potential impact of design choices on the environment, society, and other stakeholders.
I have continuously used philosophical literature to back up my work and thinking. Philosophical views on humanity and culture have become an integral part of my growth, both during my studies and beyond. It has showcased various perspectives on society, its issues, and its opportunities, which has allowed me to approach design cases with an open mind and consider many alternate approaches. This has been invaluable in helping me to develop my critical thinking skills and to gain a more holistic view of the world.
Flexible digital prototypes
I am highly adept at rapidly working with digital materials to create innovative digital prototypes to collect data, convey experiences, or demonstrate new viewpoints. My ability to process digital information quickly and accurately enables me to create prototypes of high fidelity that adhere to the latest best practices in the industry.