Dan Pink: The Surprising Truth About Moving Others

A great talk by Dan Pink presenting a few findings regarding sales and how salespeople persuade others. He also presents data to counter some widely held beliefs about extroverts being the best salespeople.

Dan Pallotta: The way we think about charity is dead wrong

A great Ted Talk about the stigmas of non-profits that are hindering their scalable impact. Dan Pallotta is a social entrepreneur that is changing how we think about the way non-profits are perceived by the public.

Kathryn Schulz: On Being Wrong

A great talk about beliefs, the nature of being wrong, and how people feel when they discover they're wrong or have yet to learn that they're wrong.

Allen Savory: How to Green the World's Deserts and Reverse Climate Change

One of the most compelling talks I've seen all year. Allen Savory presents a natural solution to reducing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. He's tested this method on over 15,000,000 hectares of land. He's been turning desert into productive vegetative land simply by using domesticated herds to mimic natural herd behavior in a predator and prey environment.

Communicating Design to Non-Designers

Now that I've almost completed my Master's in Industrial Design, I've been struggling with how to communicate what I do to people that confuse different disciplines of design with each other. Part of what gives rise to this confusion is figuring out the role the designer should play within an organization, as part of a team, as a freelancer, and even as an entrepreneur. The problem I've encountered with clients is the perception of design. They perceive design as its end result, which is aesthetics, feelings, a sense of ease while savoring a well designed experience or interaction. I use the word experience very loosely, and as an umbrella term for products, services, systems of people, corporations, etc.

Being a designer, I've been trying to frame this problem of client perception in various ways, and I've been prototyping various explanations and I'm going to present the latest iteration:

Design is a problem solving process that encompasses two major parts. The first is researching and framing a problem, the second is prototyping and iterating a solution. Transitioning from the first to the second part requires synthesis and analysis on the subject being studied.

Since I'm receiving a master's degree, people tell me I'm supposed to be an expert in something. I'd argue that I'm an expert in a process as opposed to being an expert in a specific field. This process is sometimes called design thinking, and other times people call it human centered design or fourth order design. It leverages anthropology, psychology, and sociology to make sense of the human experience in order to research and frame a problem. For prototyping and iterating solutions, we leverage digital and physical tools: borrow processes from engineering and graphic and product design, to business modeling and service design.

I've been having difficulty figuring out a role for myself within an organization and how I should present myself because every job opportunity I've had thus far has been from word of mouth, meeting and talking, and occasionally brainstorming to show some of these design thinking tools in action.

More to come as I spend time thinking about my role as a designer within an organization, and my role in our current society and as an entrepreneur.

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