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Beyond the Value-Add

[ 0 ] September 16, 2013 |

Peter Buffett, the son of financier billionaire Warren Buffett, wrote an intriguing if not paradigm-shifting opinion piece recently in The New York Times where he proposed that current philanthropic models are perpetuating inequality and economic and cultural oppression. His premise is that wealthy donors and businesses are putting just enough resources towards helping those populations in need to avoid full-scale rebellion and revolution, thereby ensuring the (profitable to them) status quo.

Most relevant to the design community at large and specifically those working in corporations, is his suggestion that, rather than treating the symptoms of failing economic and political systems currently in place, “It’s time for a new operating system. Not a 2.0 or a 3.0, but something built from the ground up. New code.”

Who better to do that than designers who have the emotional and psychological attributes, the talent and skills, and the grasp of the process necessary to best effect this type of fundamental change? We’re embedded in practically every type of organization with the potential to create prototypes of and then scale up societal structures (or actually restructures) to fundamentally change how we humans interact with each other and organize ourselves.

For too long designers have been about the value-add to the organizations we serve. It’s about time that we begin to explore ways we can drive the kind of organizational and corporate cultural change that will result in new societal structures and institutions that fundamentally benefit everyone on the planet.

This post was contributed by InSource Advisor and Co-Founder Andy Epstein.

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