According to Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind, “Design is a classic whole-minded aptitude” and “… as more people develop a design sensibility, we’ll increasingly be able to deploy design for it’s ultimate purpose: changing the world.”
Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind heralds a whole new day, when the right brain skills and traits join the traditional dominion of the right brain perspective to produce a truly integrated psyche, and a healthier more balanced future. Moreover, he says this shift is imminent for a number of perfectly logical reasons.
Design is the first of six right brain skill or ‘senses’ Pink profiles in his book as important to our emerging collective future, and he seems to look at the design mind-set as a kind of super-aptitude that encompasses all the others in interesting ways.
"Design is a classic whole-minded aptitude", Pink asserts, and "… as more people develop a design sensibility, we’ll increasingly be able to deploy design for it’s ultimate purpose: changing the world."
One of the justifications for Pink’s assertion is the inter-disciplinary skills that are essential to good design. The ability to think ‘out of the box’ and see the ‘big picture’, the ability to put yourself in other’s shoes, create meaning, and be a little whimsical that are the essence of the other right brain skills he mentions are all necessary prerequisites to the designer’s art. If you add beauty, the aesthetic aspect of design, you have an extraordinarily valuable skill that has uses far beyond the popular idea of design as decoration.
Aesthetics matter. This is becoming more and more clear. But Pink is exploring just how much they matter in a number of important settings. He quotes furniture designer Anna Castelli Ferrieri "It’s not true that what is useful is beautiful. It is what is beautiful that is useful. Beauty can improve people’s way of life and thinking", and goes on to give statistics and examples of the ways in which attention to beauty and good design can help patients get better faster, improve student test scores in public schools, change the atmosphere of fear and despair in public housing, decrease environmental pollution and effect national elections.
"To be a designer is to be an agent of change", indeed.