by Jane Pellicciotto
on Thursday, September 9, 2010 in Features
Another well-attended SHIFT confirmed that Portlanders are still hungry for engaging presentations on sustainable design thinking—or maybe it was the free beer. Either way, two key themes emerged from the evening. One was collaboration—joining forces to find solutions to today’s problems, together. A twist on the popular saying is called for: “Many hands make green work.” Another theme was the need to approach projects and solutions from a deeper, more meaningful perspective—highlighting the notion that if we’re to be agents of change then we need to design from the heart, if you will.
Before being dismissed as too idealistic, this second theme can’t be an accident if 10 people, unbeknownst to one another, took the mic to communicate how to solve problems with less ego and less focus on profits alone (for both designers and their clients). This suggests a trend—an increased desire that effectiveness trump simply pushing one’s creative idea through the client pipeline. Designers want to be a key part of the solution (that of reducing waste, searching for alternative methods and materials, and arming audiences and clients with relevant, useful information). To many, being part of the solution means initiating more meaningful, soulful, open dialog.
More than anything, the evening pointed to the undeniable fact that many of us seek ways, of our own accord and often with our own resources, to have an impact on the greater social and environmental good.