Bruce Nussbaum: Designers as the enemy of design

\n

\nIn a recent speech that he gave at Parsons School of Design in New York, Business Week's Bruce Nussbaum explains why there has been a backlash against design. According to Nussbaum, the design movement shows signs of faltering for two primary reasons -- designers are arrogant and designers are ignorant. They are arrogant when it comes to understanding the whole "Design Democracy" movement empowered by Web 2.0 and they are ignorant when it comes to understanding issues like eco-sustainability. To challenge the preconceptions of his audience when it comes to sustainability, Nussbaum points out that the mink coat is actually better designed than the Apple iPod:


"Let’s take your favorite toy, designed by one of today’s design gods,\nJonathan Ive and his team at Apple—the iPod. Apple does fantastic\nthings with materials. Amazing things. And it has recycling programs\nfor its products. But what it doesn’t do is prioritize cradle-to-cradle\ndesign. It doesn’t design a long-cycle product that you can open and\nupgrade over time. It doesn’t design a process that encourages the\nreuse materials again and again. It doesn’t demand sustainability. [...]

\n\n

Challenge Your Assumptions. Think about the mink coat. It is beyond\ncool. It’s sustainable. You feed those little rat-y things with garbage\nthat you throw out or food you grow, you create something that is\ncomfortable, beautiful and gives you warmth for your entire life, you\npass it along to another generation or recycle it or simply let it\ndisintegrate. It’s organic, after all."

Nussbaum also explains why "innovation" has become a broad umbrella term that includes "fashion" and "design" as well:

"A final point on language: Innovation and Design. Business men and\nwomen don’t like the term "design." I think they think it implies\ndrapes or dresses. Even top CEOs who embrace design don’t want to call\nit that. They want to call it "Innovation." That has a manly right to\nit. It’s strong, techie. These folks are perfectly willing to use the\nword "vision," whatever the heck "vision" is. They like "Imagination,"\nwhatever the heck that is. But they don’t like "design." Go figure.

\n\n

\nI solve this problem by calling it all a banana. Innovation, design,\neco-imagination, just call it whatever they want to call it and do your\ndesign thing. Because your design thing is a glorious thing that has\nthe potential of changing our lives in a myriad of ways in a myriad of\nplaces."

\n

[image: Bruce Nussbaum]

\n
Big Think
Sponsored by Lumina Foundation

Upvote/downvote each of the videos below!

As you vote, keep in mind that we are looking for a winner with the most engaging social venture pitch - an idea you would want to invest in.

Keep reading Show less

7 fascinating UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Here are 7 often-overlooked World Heritage Sites, each with its own history.

Photo by Raunaq Patel on Unsplash
Culture & Religion
  • UNESCO World Heritage Sites are locations of high value to humanity, either for their cultural, historical, or natural significance.
  • Some are even designated as World Heritage Sites because humans don't go there at all, while others have felt the effects of too much human influence.
  • These 7 UNESCO World Heritage Sites each represent an overlooked or at-risk facet of humanity's collective cultural heritage.
Keep reading Show less

Why the number 137 is one of the greatest mysteries in physics

Famous physicists like Richard Feynman think 137 holds the answers to the Universe.

Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • The fine structure constant has mystified scientists since the 1800s.
  • The number 1/137 might hold the clues to the Grand Unified Theory.
  • Relativity, electromagnetism and quantum mechanics are unified by the number.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists discover how to trap mysterious dark matter

A new method promises to capture an elusive dark world particle.

Surprising Science
  • Scientists working on the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) devised a method for trapping dark matter particles.
  • Dark matter is estimated to take up 26.8% of all matter in the Universe.
  • The researchers will be able to try their approach in 2021, when the LHC goes back online.
Keep reading Show less