I seek wisdom in design and through design, so people can flourish.

Perfect happiness and fulfillment are unattainable, the stoic says. But that just means life is a battle against unhappiness! I want to support people in finding their personal wisdom. To make choices that affect themselves and their surroundings positively. Reflection, responsibility, and connection all contribute to behavior that makes one flourish. I am not here to tell anyone what to do. I am no sage. But designed artefacts have an impact on the world, and I want to make use of that. Implicitly or explicitly.

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What kind of designer?

  • 👀perceptive
  • 💭big picture thinker
  • 🎯cares about purpose
  • 🌞calm but vibrant

Wants to learn about...

  • 🌍life in another culture
  • working in a company
  • learning by failing

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How I try to bring wisdom into design

Through qualitative context research and design explorations I try to uncover which age old principles of human behavior are at stake in a given situation. Then, I try to extrapolate those into plausible future behaviors. By reframing the situation, I develop a holistic vision of what positive effect on people is required from a future artefact. This vision then informs what are good choices, or irrelevant choices for shaping the design of said artefact. Of course you cannot understand what a good choice is without making a bad choice. I have started to learn that! Along this process, the design of the product, service, or experience slowly takes shape. But human behavior is always the starting point. My way of thinking can be applied to every design process.

How I see my future as a designer

Companies and (local) governments carry a great responsibility for designed artefacts. And designers are brought into decision making more and more, which increases the responsibility of designers for our world. Although I believe in the will of people to do good, I think human flourishing is too often sacrificed for the wrong reasons, or not considered in general.

I want to make a contribution to wise design, business, and organisation in some way. Maybe through the envisionment and design of artefacts, maybe as a facilitator, maybe by example. I have a lot to learn before that can happen, and before I know what is a good choice for me, what makes me flourish as a person. A better world starts with yourself.

read about my vision on good design and wisdom

Why good design needs to embody wisdom

Wisdom is knowing what to do in order to be effective. In my eyes, to design, is to aim to be as wise as you can be. Is anyone who tries to be effective a designer then? Yes, of their own life, and whatever they are responsible for. But professional designers are responsible for artefacts that many people will use.

Good design makes people flourish. Bad design contributes to waste and depression.

We all know things that we love because they fulfill a need. We all hate, abandon, and dispose of things that don't fulfill our needs. We are taught to desire things that don't help us grow. In my eyes, good design makes people flourish and bad design contributes to waste and depression. Was Facebook able to know they would make people depressed? Maybe, maybe not. Mistakes are made, and true wisdom is unattainable. But they do know now. They have the moral responsibility to figure out if they should continue along this path.

I believe all designers want to do good. But to succeed in that requires wisdom. And thus, good design requires research, experiment and reflection. And sometimes, lots of patience.

When you aim to be as wise as you can be, you can start to align outcome with intention. I believe all designers want to do good. But succeeding in that requires wisdom. And thus, good design requires research, experiment and reflection. And sometimes, lots of patience. Products, services, experiences, and environments built on a sound understanding of what makes people flourish, are conducive to those people living a fulfilling life. That's how it's supposed to be. Anything else is waste. Or at most, a good example of what not to do. If we are to take care of ourselves and our planet, we should try to design with as much wisdom as we can. It's really simple, just not easy.

How wise design can foster wiser people

I believe wisely designed artefacts can stimulate wise behavior. Because when a designer can understand a user, they may also help the user understand themselves, which is what wisdom requires. Or they may cause the user to experience a paradigm shift, which fosters reflection, which is what wisdom requires. Or they may support a user in changing their behavior altogether. The power of design is that its outputs can be endlessly reproduced. Wisely designed artefacts can facilitate many people in stepping up as a wise designer of their own life and surroundings.

Wise artefacts can help people create their own wisdom. Wise design can make the world flourish.

If anything designed from now on is designed as wisely as possible, and helps people to flourish, the world will not be the same. That's my vision. But designers cannot do it alone. They do not operate in a vacuum. Artefacts are rarely stand-alone anymore. Everything is connected. This means that wisdom requires more time, and money, than ever. New ways of approaching the design of artefacts need to be researched and implemented. We all want to do good. But to do right, that's the real challenge. Maybe we'll never figure it out. But I know what I want to contribute to.

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