Design is other-serving (42). This is what makes design unique. It is based on a service relationship. The idea of serving others, rather than helping them or serving yourself is fascinating and an idea that should be fostered and encouraged across disciplines. What if we designed community around service? What if we built relationships on a foundation of service, not servitude, not helping, but service? What if we designed learning spaces treating everyone involved as equals (instructor, undergraduates, graduates, staff, parents, someone with a fancy title)? Because right now, traditional classrooms are built with an emphasis of importance placed on the instructor/professor (being at the front of the room). What could be achieved if we were to design from a community-oriented perspective rather than based on the individual (i.e. sage on the stage)?
We live in an ever-changing world where today’s solutions to complex problems will change tomorrow based on new understanding and knowledge. Because of this, it is difficult to be comprehensive when designing anything. “People, in general, prefer what is known or predictable…The future is shown repeatedly to be unpredictable” (43). Designs are never fully complete due to our incomplete understanding of others and this mysterious world, as well as our inability to fully know what we want. “Clients may not fully know what is concretely desired in the beginning” (43). Instead, designs should be adequate – as they fulfill a need based on design intention – yet they are still never final due to empathy, the dynamic nature of the world, and our focus on the ideal.
But being adequate is difficult to achieve due to our attraction to the ideal and our conscious need to reason and be comprehensive in design. But how do we know what’s ideal? Is it just the agreed upon definition of what is ideal and what is not ideal? Why is it that humans strive for something that is unattainable? “One has the double intention of wanting the expected and desired outcome, but also hoping to be surprised with an unexpected benefit that transcends original expectations” (42). We cannot be adequate if we do not fully know what we want. This idea of having a double intention, but not knowing that we want something more, creates complexity in design.
When considering the whole, and understanding how each part makes up the whole, it’s reminiscent of music albums. A complete album is a whole, and each song relates to the whole and helps make up the whole album. This can be related to community (the whole) and how each individual person (song) makes up a community. An album can be one of many albums that a band releases, all comprising the band’s body of work, or constellations. So each whole is just a part of another whole, just as each community is a part of another community. One can also consider different CoPs, and our conversation about sets and subsets of CoPs and how each CoP, in itself, is a whole, but also only part of another (or many other) CoPs.
Brought to you by Dean, Katie, and Zach