I am reading the book "The
Burnout Society" by Byung-Chul Han. It is a very short book, only
about 50 pages. Han is a Korean-born philosopher, now active in Germany. He has
published a series of short books. I
read this book as a serious critique of our modern society which Han gives
different names, for instant 'the achievement society'. He argues that modern
society has developed a culture where we believe we can do anything, “yes, we
can”, where we are measured based on our achievements. He makes the case that
people get sick and depressed not because they are burdened by what he calls
disciplinary responsibility "but the imperative to achieve: the newcommandmentof late-modern labor society".
People get burnout because of "creative fatigue and exhausted
ability". We suffer from the "violence of positivity” that “does not
deprive, it saturates; it does not exclude, it exhausts.” Han argues that we
need more 'negativity', we need mor…
In 2008 I wrote a blog post about the future of design thinking (see below). It was a short post and it was primarily predicting design thinking to have a serious and fundamental influence on the structure of higher education and research. I anticipated design to have become an integral part of all areas of academia, not just the traditional design disciplines. Well, I think it is obvious that my prediction were a bit too ambitious (even though we have barely made 10 of the "10 to 20 years" I was discussing).
We are still not where I thought we would be. Design as a distinct activity of inquiry and action is not yet recognized in academia. Design has not become the obvious third culture, next to science and art. However, we are definitely living in a time when design thinking has been recognized as an suitable approach when it comes to creative and innovative change, primarily by business and industry (I have in some other posts warned for the design thinking backlash).
If you go to Youtube and look for "design thinking" you will find a large number of videos with TED talks and other talks all explaining what design thinking is, how important it is, how to do it, etc. Some are good. They present an understanding of designing that is ok, but in many cases they are quite simplistic, and surprisingly quite often based on the speakers personal experience of realizing the "power" of design as a new creative process to solve problems. The speaker have "seen the light", and the light is design thinking. Again, this is all well, we do need as many as possible to be introduced to a designerly way of thinking. The world needs design thinking.
But, it is not enough. Any approach used by humans to engage with the world in an intentional way, for producing knowledge (as the scientific process) or for producing art (as the artistic process) or for producing change (as the design process) has to be supported. The scientific process has…