Who am I?
As a designer, one of my defining personality traits is optimism, which influences both my approach to work and my passion for design. I thrive on challenges, particularly when it comes to designing for Complex Societal Challenges. Learning from others is something that drives me and therefore like to work in multidisciplinary teams. In this context, I often take a leading or connecting role, using my empathetic nature to understand diverse perspectives.
I am operating in the domain of social design but also focused on making, and thus focusing on the areas of expertise; user and society and creativity and aesthetics, this is something that sets me apart. Being dyslexic, I am not always good with my words and find that making and hands-on activities help me make sense of complex concepts. Making becomes a means of expression for me, allowing me to explore ideas visually and tangibly. I believe this way of working makes me quite good at dealing with uncertainty which is useful when working on Complex Societal Challenges.
Additionally, I am research focused I do not necessarily design products or solutions but use design research and utilizing research through design methodologies. I experiment with various methods such as context mapping, ethnographies, qualitative insights, showroom approach, field research and draw insights from disciplines like philosophy, anthropology and psychology.
I believe I have quite an entrepreneurial mindset that extends beyond my academic pursuits, I actively engage in ‘politics’ and connect this with my development as a designer. I am constantly seeking opportunities and building my network for future endeavours. Ultimately, my goal is to work as a designer within a governmental organization, where I can apply my skills and contribute to meaningful projects and make an impact on a longer-term basis. Lastly, I have a lot of enthusiasm that easily creates inspiration and excitement within me. This energy translates into the groups and people I work with, what often results in a positive and vibrant atmosphere.
What do I believe?
As we face more and more complex societal challenges, such as climate change and COVID-19, it becomes increasingly important to work together to tackle these issues. It is stated that today’s societal issues can only be sustainably tackled through a multi-stakeholder approach with collective responsibility (Gardien et al., 2014). The multistakeholder
collaboration that I am most interested in is the collaboration between designers and the government. I believe that designers are needed within the government as they are able to be the connecting factor between different disciplines. When working on societal challenges we need to embrace open-endedness, unpredictability and experimentation, this is something designers are able to do, next to that they have the ability and tools to empathize with users, embody and visualize complexity. In order to do this designers need a critical mindset and ability to rethink the way we are doing things.
There is a significant knowledge gap about technology within government. This gap is becoming more and more apparent with the introduction of AI, governments and law are lacking behind. Designers have the opportunity to bridge this gap by serving as a connection between the technology and social sectors. To have a lasting impact, designers need to be embedded within governmental organizations rather than relying solely on consultancy firms or research institutes. For this, designers not only need knowledge about human behavior and technology, but they also need to be aware of how the system works. As Schaminée states: “It is important for designers to have a certain political insight” (Schaminée, 2018). In order to make a change in this way, we have to work with the system instead of against it. This shift to having influence on these levels would allow designers to play a vital role in shaping policies, improving services, and creating a more inclusive and responsive society.
Gardien, P., Djajadiningrat, T., Hummels, C., & Brombacher, A. (2014). Changing your Hammer: The Implications of Paradigmatic Innovation for Design Practice. International Journal of Design, 8, 119–139.