Design & Thinking, the documentary

Last week the documentarty Design and Thinking was screened at ECA (Edinburgh College of Art).
In the panel, Alan Murray (Head of School of Design), my colleague at Moving Targets Mariza Dima and myself.

Curious movie, and a more interesting debate.

The key question from the audience was: What is Design Thinking, and how does it differ from any design discipline?

Well, if I had been asked before watching the movie, I would have said that Design Thinking is a kind of brand that serves as umbrella for all design disciplines that go beyond the popularised understanding of design as “beauty”.

Furthermore, I would have said that Design Thinking is more than anything else human centred, and argues for the value of applying the design process to achieve a higher democratisation of our current society in both social and environmental aspects.

If I had to put a face to my understanding of Design Thinking it would have been TED global, and its wonderful talk by individuals – designers or thinkers – seeking social change and innovation.

However, and after seeing the movie… I might not agree with myself.
The movie seemed to me a long advertisement for californian companies, and I feel the term Design Thinking is being appropriated (or might have been created) by multinationals.

My initial understanding of Design Thinking cannot conceive how it can be represented by CocaCola.
How a company causing straggles all over the world and monetising on addiction can argue to be social because wherever the go they are felt as a local brand?
How does inprinting the lable on a glass bottle stand as Design Thinkin?

Excepting for some interviews with David Kelley, some picks into the D-School and little hints to the existance of social innovation… I personally haven´t got much more out of the movie.

I feel this movie still represents designers as those wonderful creatives in pulcrous studios where inspiration comes and their wonderful brains make innovation happen for the rest of unfortunatelly less creative humans.

Customising bycicles… yeah, cool idea… kettles with a two note wistle… whatever… sitting business men around a low table to get them relaxed… yeah sure …

Where is the sense of co-creation, and empowering people with the tools to build sustainable solutions for the problems they know better than anyone?

Where is the process designers follow to be able to understand and empathise with the end users?

In the end… the key question of the debate was: Who are the intended audience for this movie?


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