Design Your Life


Our day began with John Maeda stopping by the Hub Culture Pavilion Davos. He got us thinking about the importance of design. We were interested that he’d left the Rhode Island School of Design to join Kleiner Perkins as the Design Partner. He used the example of Google buying Nest for $3.2 billion to illustrate the critical role design plays in acquisitions – VCs are taking the importance of beauty combined with technology seriously.

But design can also be a force for social good. Todd Taylor, Head of Marketing, EMEA frog says,

“Design can and should be a force for positive change, delivering meaningful solutions that contribute to the lives of individuals as well as to society as a whole.”

One example is frog’s ‘reimagination’ of New York City’s public telephone system (pictured) which could become technological gateways for what you need when you are walking around the city, for example maps, phone calls or local services.

Lara Setrakian, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of News Deeply is betting that with good design – online journalism can empower individuals and be a force for good.  She designs her website to go deep into a single subject. Her first project, Syria Deeply, is refreshingly easy on the eyes, despite the complicated and difficult issues the journalists write about.

“It is a simple format, but we don’t simplify the news.”

Martin Roth, Director of the V&A museum in London, wants us to see all facets of design. He asks that we look deeper at what’s behind so we appreciate the process and not just the final product. The engineering, physics, and construction behind the product are vital.  A trip to the top floor of the V&A where great furniture is deconstructed and the building process behind them is illustrated shows what he means.

And design is accessible to our daily lives. Greg McKeowan argues in his book ‘Essentialism’ that you can re-design your life to find your highest point of contribution. One that brings significance in the world by becoming incredibly selective about the things you say yes to.

“Discern what is essential, eliminate the rest, and then get those vital things done with as little effort as possible.”

And with that, the authors have just discerned that in order to bring significance to the world, they should stop writing and go back to engaging in the designed serendipity that is the Davos experience.

By Edie Lush, Executive Editor and Georgie Benardete, Guest Curator