Change and Design

Getting the practice of sustainability to be ingrained in how we think, the choices we make, and the actions we take is a global-sized change initiative, with many many organizations and people attempting to make it happen — each in their own way.  A collective of change with the stakeholders being all of the people who live on the planet.  So, how do you tackle something this big?  Michelle and I have talked about how important branding and effective communication can be to getting your point across and getting the change adopted.

In this article, Steven Johnson speaks about how to make sustainability “catch”.  His perspective about change goes beyond branding and communication, and into design;

“In the future, those brands that take the lead, engage the consumers and drive the growth will be those that understand sustainability as a design challenge, rather than a communications problem.”

He makes this point about consumers;

“They are seeking authentic and useful interaction with their brands and shifting the question from ‘how can you help me impress others?’ to ‘how can you help make my life better, easier or more meaningful?’ Again, as soon as we begin to talk about meaningful brand interaction, we elevate the thinking from communication to design.”

“The consequences of a paradigm shift in any domain take time to diffuse down to the mainstream. But as this one does, we will all realise that we must enable behaviour change, rather than communicate it; empower rather than persuade; build value in people’s lives, rather than plant messages in consumers’ heads. Ultimately, we need to design products, services and environments, rather than craft messages, images and campaigns.”

I love this perspective, and I think the idea of thinking of change as a design challenge makes sense no matter the size of the change.


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