May 11, 2009
The Tyranny of Solving Problems
Here’s a great bit of counter-conventional-wisdom from Jack Schulze. He’s talking about design:
4) Some people (they are wrong) say design is about solving problems. Obviously designers do solve problems, but then so do dentists. Design is about cultural invention. There are some people who want to reduce the domain of design to listable, knowable stuff, so it’s easy to talk about. Design is a glamorous, glittering world and this means they can engage without having to actually risk themselves on the outcome of their work. This is damaging. It turns design into something terrified of invention. Design is about risk. We all fear authentic public response to our work, but we have to be brave enough to overcome.
On one level, I really respect people who believe that a craft, or a career, should be about Solving Problems, and that everything else is ego, excess, decoration, distraction.
On another level, really? The world is just a set of problems to be fixed? Wounds to be healed? Boxes to be checked? Doesn’t seem correct.
I like Schulze’s word: invention. Maybe we need more self-identified inventors.