"This is a website that aims to provoke your thoughts not only about these important issues, but many other pertinent topics relevant to modern society, industrial civilisation and globalised dominant culture.
There's already a lot of information on the Internet, so our goal is to cut through the noise and garbage, to present credible information in a clear way, so it's accessible, useful and easily digested. This still may not be an easy undertaking though, and we can understand that - especially considering the complexity and interconnectedness of the topics, as well as the crossing over of sources; but also for the fact that the information here can be incomplete, sometimes contradictory or even controversial. But this is the point. It's all part of what we're trying to do: provoke critical thinking, questioning... and doing.
We've fundamentally built this resource to inform and inspire action - and no, we're not talking about clicking the stupid 'Like' button on Facebook, signing online petitions or letter writing - we mean informing and inspiring real-world action; taking this information away from the computer to rejuvenate the strong networks with the people around you in the real world, to discuss, plan, act. This is not a symbolic action or clicktivism website, it's a resource to inform, inspire and provoke.
We aim to generate a multitude of responses, reactions and methods to the work we're doing, because that's what is needed to solve the plethora of puzzles and problems addressed in the information we publish. Some of these puzzles are big, some are small, but everywhere you look, there's good work to be done."
"There is a growing interest in the role that design can play in catalysing, harnessing, spreading and scaling social innovation around the world. This is expressed in two key ways:
> by a growing number of professional designers and design disciplines applying their skills to addressing social issues; and
> by the adoption of design tools, techniques and methods by a growing number of other disciplines focused on developing social innovation.
Perhaps the most recognisable facet of this interest has been the rise of 'design thinking' not only in business, but increasingly in public service and policy fields. Fuelled by design agencies such as IDEO in the US, non-profit bodies such as the Design Council in the UK, and education institutions such as Stanford's 'd.school', design thinking has begun to be recognised as a key ingredient underpinning innovation (whether that be social innovation or not). Indeed, according to Sir George Cox, past chairman of the Design Council, design is what bridges creativity (the generation of new ideas) and innovation (the successful implementation of new ideas). In other words, design could be described as:
'the human power to conceive, plan, and realize products that serve human beings in the accomplishment of any individual or collective purpose' (Richard Buchanan, 2001)."
(Ingrid Burkett, Knowledge Connect)
Fig.1 AT.AW [http://www.at-aw.com]
"When you think of design thinking, think of innovative outcomes - like the iPod, or that perfect peeler that both cuts well and has an amazing grip, or the Aravind Eye Care system that allows for thousands of underresourced families in India to address cataract issues.
Pioneers of design thinking called it the process of 'a practical, creative resolution of problems or issues that looks for an improved future result' (Simon, 1969). Recently, educational researchers have been asking what happens when educators integrate the process of design thinking into the classroom. Their findings include numerous examples of enhanced student learning."
(Mount Vernon Institute for Innovation, Mount Vernon Presbyterian School, Atlanta)
"A variety of designers and researchers address issues of concern to contemporary design thinking in this first issue1 of Zoontechnica (not counting the pre-issue, now archived). All grapple with questions about how design can, in more substantial ways, contribute to sustaining those things that need to be sustained, like social justice, equity, diversity and critical thinking. ...
It is now widely acknowledged that design has played a central role in creating and sustaining cultures of consumption that continue to use up resources, burn fossil fuels that emit greenhouse gases that lead to climate change, and so on. What's less recognized is that these are not just biophysical problems to be solved by technologies, but that the unsustainable is often that which is closest to us, the everyday world in which we feel comfortable, secure and accommodated (herein lies a dilemma for user-centred design – what to do about user needs/desires that clearly contribute to unsustainability?). Being-in-the-world is being with designed things, structures and spaces that design our modes of being. Sometimes this is obvious, 'the designed' declaring itself as such,but mostly, the designed nature of our worlds is invisible to us, and when everything is working as it should, we feel at ease. We shouldn't. So much of what functions seamlessly now, saves time, delivers convenience, gives pleasure, etc– is actually taking futures away."
(Anne-Marie Willis, November 2011)
"Before the Internet, most professional occupations required a large body of knowledge, accumulated over years or even decades of experience. But now, anyone with good critical thinking skills and the ability to focus on the important information can retrieve it on demand from the Internet, rather than her own memory. On the other hand, those with wandering minds, who might once have been able to focus by isolating themselves with their work, now often cannot work without the Internet, which simultaneously furnishes a panoply of unrelated information - whether about their friends' doings, celebrity news, limericks, or millions of other sources of distraction. The bottom line is that how well an employee can focus might now be more important than how knowledgeable he is. Knowledge was once an internal property of a person, and focus on the task at hand could be imposed externally, but with the Internet, knowledge can be supplied externally, but focus must be forced internally."
David Dalrymple, 'Knowledge Is Out, Focus Is In, and People Are Everywhere,' Edge, http://www.edge.org/q2010/q10_16.html#dalrymple