Effecting Change - by Design

Micène Fontaine, January 1, 2021

December. It always feels very messy to me. It's my mental spring cleaning time. I take stock of what matters and of what does not. I create a shortlist of what I want to learn more about, do more about, and be more about. It's more art than science, but it serves as a north star in the upcoming year - personally and professionally. It's about having a destination but not the exact path - the freedom to experiment, make mistakes, and try again until I get there. It's about small incremental changes. The same idea, applied to the built environment, would go a long way toward effecting change - by design. The type of change we want to see in the places where we live, love, work, play, and heal.

For years now, this quote has been pinned above my desk. These past few weeks, I feel like it has been staring back at me. Asking me: What have you done? What are you going to do about it?

"Every question that is urgent today anywhere in the world - questions of the economy, environments, politics, technology, social value - can be addressed and supported by meaningful design" Sarah M. Whiting, Dean and Professor of Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design

I do feel an intense sense of urgency around many of the societal issues we face. It often feels overwhelming but mostly, I feel incredibly hopeful that, with the design community's brainpower, these problems can be solved without having to choose between a thriving business or practice and future generations thriving in symbiosis with our planet. I have no doubt we can achieve both if we choose to.

As 2020 comes to a close, I'd like to invite you to take a moment to join me in reflecting on what matters most to you and on how it "can be addressed and supported by meaningful design." And, if you feel so inclined, please share your thoughts :-)

If effecting change by design makes your shortlist for 2021, consider sharing your thoughts by leading a session or participating in our Change by Design series. Whatever you decide to do or not do. 2020 has been quite a year. Be kind to yourself, use your own definition of success, don't "should" yourself, and don't let me or anyone else "should" you either :-) 

Here is to you, the new year, and meaningful change - by design.

:Food for Thought and Action