This week I heard Dave Evans, co-author of Designing Your Life, at Arts & Letters Live where he talked about ways to building your own creative and joyful life using the principals of design thinking. Evans, along with Bill Burnett of the Stanford d.school, wrote the book as a response the popular Designing Your Life course taught by Evans that has since become a movement. Says Evans, “Designers don’t think their way forward, they build their way forward. The idea is if we approach our own life design challenges with the same curiosity and creativity as it took to put a man on the moon, we could figure out what we want and how to get it in our own lives. Design thinking always involves reframing, curiosity, radical collaboration and a bias to action. In a way, CAC is a perfect laboratory to facilitate this process in people’s lives. A key component of every design thinking activity is prototyping and I believe that creating art embodies the act of prototyping through an experience. The prototyping process is focused on asking interesting questions, exposing assumptions with involving others with your ideas with the result of allowing you to “sneak up on your future.” A hands-on art class does just that for people with a built-in appreciation of learning by trial and error. We all know here that the school of hard knocks is a very good school.
Evans talked about the different types of thinking about problems: engineers solve their way forward; business people optimize their way forward; and researcher analyze their way forward. But designers build their way forward by taking a problem, called “wicked” problems because they are fundamentally human, and essentially make it up as they go along. That’s what artists do every day and how the arts education process works at CAC. What’s exciting about this new book is that this principals can easily be transferred to our personal lives to build well-lived and joyful lives. I can’t wait to prototype my own life!
Dave’s Ted Talk: