I came across the concept of 30 atomic essays in 30 days a while ago on Twitter. It caught my attention, partly because of the creative rut I find myself in. I have always enjoyed writing but have struggled to combine my love for writing with my ideas in design. So, starting today 10th of July 2020, I will write a minimum of 200 words for 30 days. I'm putting this out in the universe to hold myself accountable and hopefully it will work. Through these 30 days, these are the goals I want to accomplish
One of my initial goals with getting into the design field was to work hands-on and create physical experiences. I chose to study industrial design to do so. I believe that a tangible interaction is very important and will still be a vital part of our future even if spaces start moving to digital and screens. I am also sure that I want to be working on forward-thinking projects, that look ahead. Ideas that speculate, define or change what the future could be. I would rather have such ideas come from collaboration across fields than just a group of standalone designers. The picture of the future in my head is very technology-driven so that is a path I am pretty excited about exploring. How much of a better designer will it make me, if I am better equipped with some technological skills or can collaborate with someone in that capacity. I want to reach a stage where I can confidently talk about critical design and futures and believe in what I am saying. I am hoping to do this through reading and talking to other people in the field. I want to ensure that this is not just a fad or a hobby but something I can seriously take up and work on and towards and the first step will arise from me taking myself seriously.
One approach I can take up to narrowing down what spaces I want to work in can be listing down methods and ideas I like exploring. I enjoy storytelling and being able to tell a story through different mediums is very exciting. I think products should be able to tell a story of their own, finding the balance between sticking out and blending into an environment is quite challenging. This can be interpreted in many ways as well. A product should have a story of its own, it should take the user on a journey and should play a bigger role in the narrative of the ecosystem. Products can often become agents of change. It might be ambitious for me to design products that cater to all these points and fit the box, but I would like to have these at the back of my mind. As a designer, I want to be able to co-create stories for and about the future. This introduces the space of speculative design. I want to be able to design for the future but do so by collaborating with people from within and outside the field. So designing futures through storytelling is one go-to space I will surely enjoy.
Technology for sure is going to be an important part of the future. I think it's up to me to decide how much and in what capacity I would like to be involved in this progression. Technology has become omnipresent but access to it is still a big problem. As a designer, I can either imagine the future building upon an existing technology or look at the use cases for future technologies. I understand that I might have to equip myself with a more varied skill set to be able to think and work from this perspective but I believe it'll make me a more well-rounded designer. Be it coding or working with electronics, showcasing my ideas in physical concept forms is going a step further from ideas on paper. Before starting college, I remember mentioning that I want to design products that will change the world. The idea might be far-fetched and sound fantastical but I think working with technology I will achieve this goal in some form. I am still doubtful about the right skills for me to pick up and pursue this path. But I strongly need to start working towards tech-driven ideas.
I want to work in interdisciplinary environments. Mixing elements of storytelling, speculative fiction, and elements of technology. Designing new interactive technologies for the future that will re-think how users engage and interact. Currently, when I think of this, I have technology such as AI, Machine learning, and human-robot interactions in mind. It is a space I should further explore and understand to see what technology in today's world looks like to be able to design and work on it for the future. With exploring space like technology, it feels important to also look at topics such as ethics and access. In a country like India, use cases of a lot of the new technologies are different from what they are in the west. I don't think it should be a clear cut line between either designing for the west or back home. With some effort, I think the ideas can be customized to cater to both demographics ensuring constant development and progress in both areas. In these scenarios, I am looking at technology as a tool, that people can use to build with. Designing physical objects that are technology first is what I imagine myself doing. All technology doesn't need to be fully screen-based.
In my master's statement of purpose, I wanted to use technology as a tool and a medium of impact. I want to use this exercise to further explore this idea and break it down to sound more concrete and less fluffy. As a designer, we have to opportunity to create spaces of creation. Equipping people with the right tools and starting points can lead to innovative ideas. This also builds on the important idea of co-creation. Technology can also play a vital role in the solutions I propose and conceptualize as a designer. Especially when technology is a key aspect of the future. So when I say I want to work with technology, I am looking at creating new tech-driven products for the future. Imagining technology that could exist and could change people's lives. Maybe even center the future world speculations around tech innovations and developments. So to simplify the initial sentence, I want to use technology as a tool to build meaningful products for the future.