The Value of Design (as told to middle schoolers)

High school self portrait. Note the head gear from my braces — nice!
  1. What societal factors contribute to the existence of child sexual abuse, and how to we move the levers (individual, societal and structural) to eliminate it?
  2. How are patients and families getting lost in a complicated healthcare environment, and what are the best ways to anticipate and reduce their stress through staff education?
  3. How does the infrastructure along the North Shore of Lake Superior support international tourist experiences?
  4. How might we design a map of behavioral health providers that serves both as a reference tool and a way to highlight gaps in rural service areas?
  5. How do we better connect providers to close gaps in the healthcare and homelessness prevention systems?

Spotlight vs. Lantern Consciousness

  1. Spotlight consciousness, which illuminates a single focal point of attention, making it very good for reasoning; and
  2. Lantern consciousness, in which attention is less focused yet illuminates a broader field of attention. This more diffuse form of attention lends itself to mind wandering, free associations and the making of novel connections.”
It helps to be among the 10% of lefties that make up the human population on this planet.

So you want to become a designer?

  1. You must know how to write, and be able to speak to others. An idea is only as good as your ability to communicate its benefit back to an educator, a boss, a client.
  2. You must be curious. In order to frame, interpret and meet a client need, you must be predisposed to asking questions about their business and their barriers. Great design happens within constraints; the only way to understand those constraints is to read, research and ask questions.
  3. You must be resourceful. When we hire a designer, it’s not about how much they know but how they think and to whom they’re connected that’s important.
  4. You don’t need to be an “artist,” but it helps. Conceptual thinking happens whenever, wherever it happens. In school, habitual doodlers are actually thinking productively and translating what they’re hearing to the written page in the form they best understand. Highly encouraged.
  5. You must demonstrate a desire to think “around” a problem. Designers, in their questioning and conceptual work, create visual concepts that help to frame the assignment in a different way, which often leads to unexpected outcomes. This is our superpower.

How did it turn out?



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Mark VanderKlipp

Mark VanderKlipp

Partner at Connect_CX, The Adjacency; speaker, facilitator, systems thinker, healthcare experience designer: