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Posts Tagged ‘Paul Hawken’

Serious Play and Seeds of Change in SoCal This Spring

Is there really anything more lovely than Southern California in the spring? The mudslides are just ending, yet you’re still safely outside the height of the wildfire season. What better time to attend two design conferences in our neck of the woods? Coincidentally, we received updates for both these upcoming events one after another in our inbox today, as if our travel itinerary was being sent from above.

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First up, Seeds of Change, the lucky 13th year of the Y Conference, held by AIGA San Diego. This year has a greenish tint to it, and a twist by adding a moderator, Susan Szenasy. Paul Hawken headlines, other highlights are Derek Fagerstrom and Julia Cosgrove from ReadyMade, Janet Kübler from the Biomimicry Guild, Speak Up’s Jason Tselensis and AIGA sustainability chair Marc Alt. We’ve attended for the last two years, and our verdict remains the same: it’s very affordable for a big-time conference, but still small enough that you’ll find yourself drinking Champagne by the Hotel Solamar’s pool with the same person you’re supposed to get up and see speak at 9am. March 27-29.

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Just about a month later (why not stay at the Hotel Solamar pool until then?), the Art Center’s biennial conference has fun with Serious Play. John “Hocks” Hockenberry moderates Elizabeth Diller, David Macaulay, John Maeda, Paula Scher and more, organized by Chee Pearlman. This was the typical speaker/moderator conference but this year they’re adding hands-on studios, three-hour creative workshops. Although we found ourselves gasping at the price–$1350 before March 11–we have to say that two years ago, we were also gasping at the long and illustrious list of luminaries we encountered in the superfancy refreshment tent between sessions. May 7-9.

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Alex Steffen’s Changing Our World

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We met Alex Steffen last night and he seems like a pretty upbeat guy in light of all the bad news he must run into all day as editor of Worldchanging: “We have inherited a broken future.”

(We don’t think we need to go over all those problems right now and bum you out.)

But basically, we are Americans, living a five-planet lifestyle. We have to fix it because we caused the problem in the first place. Thank god we have moved environmentalism into the mainstream. But even the small changes–all those little steps–can’t solve these problems.

We can’t just swap out all the Hummers for Priuses, we have to think differently. Like Netflix, who has dematerialized the movie rental system. Or Ze Frank‘s Earth Sandwich project as a method of sustainability. If you know where you are and where things are you can relate to them better. Car sharing is another example of a brilliant dematerializing of resources. Power tools are another thing–we just don’t use them enough to own them. Shared tool libraries are the answer. Like a pillow on an airplane, once we use something, we don’t need to keep it, and we should give it back. More producer take-backs need to happen.

So. People want guilt free affluence, but we can’t just rely on the bombardment of information, we need to know the backstory of our decisions. For example, the speed at which people have decided they don’t want to eat crap, and know where their food has come from, has increased exponentially because it became trendy.

How companies tell their backstory is going to be the most critical job for designers of the next decade, and so here, designers, is the challenge. The rest of the world needs you to show us how to engage. and you need to show the rest of the world that you can be beautiful. We should build it to be better and build it to be more fun.

And let’s finish with this uplifting quote by Paul Hawken that we’re sure keeps Steffen going back to the office every day: “You are brilliant and the world is hiring.”

All AIGA NEXT coverage.