I am a practical thinker and look at a design from above. I see a design process as an exploration: when a taken direction turns out not to work out I am intrigued and curious about the next step. Before finding new solutions, I take on a research-like approach and map out an issue in detail in order to find intervention possibilities and develop a vision.
My design decisions are influenced by interaction with others. Especially in ideation, it is important for me to be surrounded by and confronted with different views and perspectives, using these as a tool to organize my own thoughts and opinions. In contrast, I can work very independently when responsibilities are determined clearly. I take responsibility for my work in a team, making me a reliable team member.
Because of my bird’s-eye view I am focused on the main project goal and keep an eye on project planning. I am ambitious and set high standards, but am realistic when I need to be and know when to make concessions. Admittedly, this means that I have a hard time working on details and sometimes miss them.
I am both human-sensitive and culturally sensitive. Through my bachelor I’ve developed these skills and gained knowledge in sociology and psychology. In design processes I combine my intuitiveness with academic research and map out the user needs by empathizing and analyzing their behavior.
Polarisation in politics is happening all around the world, causing tension and conflict and influences individual health (Van Velthoven, 2020; Pérez & Ramos, 2008). I believe that instead of moving away from each other, other perspectives are one of the most important factors for understanding and finding quicker solutions to societal issues. As a designer, I want to show the people these new perspectives.
There is no person that knows the answers to ethical and societal issues. The role of a design in this topic therefore must be only to show different perspectives and map them out, so that we get an objective overview of the nodes contributing to the issue. Seeing an issue from above rather than first-person perspective, we can start working on a solution from the core.
A personal passion for conceptual artists such as Marina Abramović and stoic philosophy made me believe they provide for useful design approaches. Art is often showing us what is happening in society and therefore is a useful source for finding societal issues. Conceptual artists are looking to stimulate thinking and sometimes discussion about these topics. While I believe this is an important first step and we can learn from their techniques and approaches, design can take it a step further and be the link between stimulating debate and putting effort into finding a solution. Design therefore should also be used as a tool for research and innovation.
Stoic philosophy provided for several scientific psychological methods and has shown me how design should also be approached as a tool for finding solutions, rather than being the solution itself. “The happiness of your life depends on your thoughts”, a quote by Marcus Aurelius, tells us how we can change our world by changing our thoughts. If we approach design as a tool to change our thoughts and/or perspectives, we let the users rely on themselves rather than a product, making them more independent and providing them techniques that can also be used outside of the product.
Pérez, C. B., & Ramos, X. (2008). Polarisation and health. IZA.
Van Velthoven, P. (2020). Wereldwijde polarisatie kenmerkt de politiek. Retrieved from Friesch Dagblad: https://frieschdagblad.nl/2020/2/12/wereldwijde-polarisatie-kenmerkt-de-politiek?harvest_referrer=https:%2F%2Fwww.google.de%2F