For almost a year now, I’ve been reflecting on my work and the relevant questions that keep emerging in my mind. Why design a vase? What am I contributing to society when the world is already filled with a thousand other vases? And even more so, is it possible that this way I’m only enabling the increase of certain contemporary problems? Am I creating these problems rather than solving them?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud of what I’ve achieved until now! But last year I discovered that being a designer can be so much more than I originally thought and that as a product designer you are responsible for what you put into the world. Most products available today are often things nobody really needs, and a lot of good alternatives are largely available. I became aware that I don’t want to be that kind of designer. I want to be able to define my work as emphatic, social, problem solving and helpful. I’ve rediscovered the ‘do-gooder’ in me, which was always there at the start of each project, but never made its way to the end result.
So with my recent projects I decided to shift the focus towards the process instead of the tangible result. From this perspective the product or result is never the end station;
It’s the effect on other people or the world around us that defines the goal and brings the real change in our lives.
I’m now helping businesses and organisations with their challenges by creating solutions that can really affect people on a different level. And because I believe the word ‘design’ has become a hollow description, as I will explain further in another essay, ‘innovation’ is much more suitable for what I am doing at this point in time.
Plus, I won’t be working alone. Each project requires its own team of people, depending on the challenge. Creating fitting solutions for people means getting to know their world and engage with them from the bottom up instead of top down. Talking to them and discovering what they are looking for or need, allows me to start from a different angle to really create something innovative but useable. By changing my methods and perspective the product now becomes a tool to reach a certain goal. Whether they are individuals or gathered in organisations or communities, I am able to come up with unique results by approaching questions and opportunities with the view of a designer.
So that’s exactly what my new studio; Innovationstudio R, will be doing as of now.
Hereby we want to introduce the new website and identity of ‘Innovationstudio-R’.
Please have a look: www.innovationstudio-r.com. The website was created in close collaboration with Stella van Lieshout (content) and the talented designers at Cometa.cc (identity). We are looking forward to more successful projects and to share more with you soon!