Things that designed to solve problems and things that designed to be loved.

How do you design things that people will love?

There is always something else out there, that is better, faster, smarter, more efficient and resourceful. How do you pick the one you will love and be attached to? How would you design meaning and not just a function that fulfil someone’s (talked through and researched) needs and solve the well-analyzed problems?

We want our life to have a sense, a purpose, and we are in constant search for it. The new day, the new projects, new people and places, – time is running and we just can’t help ourselves to stop the flood. World nowadays is full of solutions and that’s the problem. There are a tons of things that grab your attention and it’s very easy to miss the point, loose your focus and sense of presence. It’s a big challenge nowadays to keep your purity, be mindful in what you’re doing and honest with yourself. We live in an era of destruction and our brain can’t keep up with this pace.

The experience that fascinates people is directly linked to the meaning of interaction with the product(service). Thus, the way how you design products and services while you’re looking for creating the new meaning and experience should be totally different to one when you design products based on facts, user research, analyzed needs of the users and all other possible data, collected beforehand.

If you want to break the pattern, you should go out and explore the non-existing areas, innovate. That means you can not offer things that people think they want. You don’t support existing behaviour by bringing upgrade as a solution, you don’t reshape the structure. If you’re aiming to design new, innovative product and meaning that will last, don’t ask people what they they want.  Start with your heart.

You should see The way, not just one of the ways. Think, what is important to you and for you, then bring it out. Don’t be afraid to take responsibility for your project and things you’re passionate about. Stand for yourself and your design. Find that meaning for yourself and work on it, make it available for other people to see, and hopefully, they can share your feelings.

We listen and see only what we want to, even when we are working on a solution level. While designing on a meaning level, we have to start from ourselves.  Ideas that are important to us, concepts that touch our heart and take our breath away, things that we love genuinely and can stand for without any doubts. If you don’t love your creation, who else going to do so? If you based your design on a dry analyzes, then, most likely, there is no emotions, empathy, there is no magic, spark and energy that you can share with others and get in return. Even working on solution level designers should remember to listen their gut.

Fall in love with the things you do.

We can give people a direction, share our vision with them, show how we care and feel about them. Working on the level of meanings requires a high level of honesty and ability to be critical to the actions you’re taking as a designer and creator. Designing the meaning, first of all, is the action of critical reflection, it’s a very personal inner process.  And of course, there is a high value in a peer support and peer critics after inner concept formation, as well as the reflections and feedback from the project circle and interpreter’s perspectives on the concepts from the outside.

If we’re looking for the great inspirations in life, great experiences, joy, genuine interaction, sometimes it is really worth it to look inside ourselves first and ask how we would love it to be.. What are our ideas, thoughts, dreams, things and people that we love and want to stand for, not matter what.  

This text above is the extract from the lecture by Roberto Verganti, whom we had a pleasure to listen today, 10th of December 2015 in Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture.

His ideas are aligned pretty well with my recent thoughts, especially in case of user-driven design and empathic design. Talk about innovation based on research and analyses only seemed always a bit inaccurate to me, especially from the human experience perspective. So, I would like to agree with the idea that bringing your personality and passion can be extremely helpful and result will be better.

The utilitarian, symbolic and emotional levels of design we obtain while working on a project should be readjusted every time accordingly the situation, people and other resources involved in it. As architects who never were taught to look at the user but society, history, city, culture, big space and think through centuries, designers should not be focusing on the users only while seeking the innovative solutions, but bring other methods on board. Start from themselves and love what they do.

More reading if you get interested:

  • Design driven innovation by R.Verganti
  • The Innovative power of criticism by R.Verganti (Feb 2016)
  • Innovation of meaning by R.Verganti (Fall 2016)
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