by our Design Partner, Greg Hart (January 2021)
It’s true although generally unnoticed.
Part of the problem is recognizing what design is. Design gets used in relation to so many different activities. Graphic design, organizational design, design thinking, website design, interior design … well, you get the point.
What is it that is common to all kinds of design?
Two things: Design is an act of creation. And it has intent. No matter what the context might be, the basic intention is always the same - to create the conditions for successful outcomes. This makes it really important to recognize what success is and why we want it. Otherwise we cannot connect our act of creation to the realization of our desired outcomes. Creating a website full of entertaining cat videos is unlikely to lock in your corporate consulting work. At least I think (hope?) so. Loads of creativity hooked to the wrong intention is not a good design. It is like coming up with a clever answer to the wrong question.
Whether we are creating a logo to attract attention, finding a way to get our teenager out of bed, developing an organizational model for our company that reliably produces innovation, or delivering a spacecraft to make a return trip to Mars, we are doing design - creating the conditions for success. The particular configuration of skills required to make different designs successful is definitely variable, yet, we are - in every single case - applying our creativity to our intentions to produce the conditions for success.
The best news is that, since we are all designers, we can become better designers producing ever greater designs into the world by practicing our creativity and being more explicit and thoughtful about our intent...setting in motion a continuous loop of finding better fit and more meaning.