I was part of the coolest team of volunteers for TEDx at Art Center College of Design. I decided to help with the conference since I am so intrigued by the talks that TED gives and of course the thematic of the conference was “Social change”. They talked about many issues and aspects of not only design but all the things that need attention out there in the world, like human rights and even childhood diabetes and how designers can help or have helped these companies, people, and communities. It is amazing how our visual abilities and our thought process sometimes is what people need to make that idea they had in their head real, and to be able to help people must be amazing.
This makes me thing deeply about something that I have had in the back of my head for some time now. What is design? Is it there to make something look just prettier? for some companies it can be marketing through performance, innovation and in general better products, but I feel like designers have this little complex feeling that you HAVE to change the world somehow and in a good way I hope. I have been seeing these posters that say that Designers are the new Entrepreneurs, and I can see this happening, where Design is getting recognized not only by companies but by regular Joes. This can be a bad and a good thing since now people think they know what design means and become even more critical into what is well designed and what is not. Either way, I can see design becoming more and more relevant to people, and the fact that I see design focusing in things like social change makes me believe even more in this field where for some time I thought I was going to end up producing mindless, pretty, products…. or even worst, just plain irrelevant products that are going to become useless waste.
Social impact and Sustainability have become a relevant and very interesting themes, because it is not as easy as it looks. For example…. sometimes is better to keep the old and refurbish instead of getting the brand new product: “0% bad things and 100% recycled other bad things”. In my time at Art Center I have learned about the importance of paying attention to these issues, and outside of the fact that it is the right thing to do, it does hit you. You see all these things happening around you and you also see some of the solutions that designers, companies, etc. are coming up with and you are amazed and inspired to do more and really save the world. Of course I love the fact that you can think about Social impact and sustainability in a logical, detailed way without just believing that because you buy recycled paper you are green, you can proactively do something and improve people’s lives in a logical, detailed, long term way if you have the right mindset, team, work and soul.
My experience with TEDx was amazing, not only because I got to hear amazing speakers but because I was the “Technical Director” since the organizers thought I was really good at people management and leadership. Of course to jump into that position without previous warning was interesting, I had to learn the job on the fly while managing people that thought that I knew what I was doing… But, I mean, it all worked out, the even was a success. Everything worked smooth and at the end of the day and we took a really cool group pic and had a cheer which the attendees loved.