Talk with Mum

July 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

My mum is an artist and she’s always good to talk to when I’m stuck with a project. She comes up with lots of ideas – she sees lots of ‘gaps in the market’. Often when I was starting to be interested in design she’d say ‘you should design this’, which was actually quite annoying – she’d had the idea, why should I implement someone else’s idea as a uni project? Any time she had a design idea, she’d tell me I should design it… I suppose a bit like in big designer’s studios such as Zaha Hadid, she tells people to design something, just gives them a scribble on some paper and tells them to make it into a building. She takes ownership of the idea; even though it’s the other way round here, I’d feel like a fraud taking my mum’s idea and passing it off as purely my own. One idea she had a long time ago was connecting older people and families, like I’m doing with the Adopt-a-Grandma scheme; seeing as I’ve taken it much further and in a different way to what she imagined, I feel that I have ownership of this particular way of carrying out the concept.

But maybe what mum does is more like commissioning me – mostly commissions I’m not interested in doing, seeing as I’m not really into product design any more.

Anyway. Really I haven’t said anything I wanted to yet. The ideas we came up with today were:

Somewhere to sleep in the middle of town. Often during shopping trips I just need a power nap to keep going, or I’ll have whole days and evenings out and lose energy halfway through. Sleep pods, pay per half hour.

Babysitting hotel. Instead of dropping off your kids at a friend’s house for a weekend away, drop them at a babysitter’s where other kids will be too. High standard childcare. Place to look after kids any time of day, or overnight. Maximum stay two nights a week to prevent abuse of the service.

Courses for truant children, or their parents – though this can’t be private sector work.

Something to motivate dyslexic people who have been left out by the educational system – give them self-worth, help them find their talents. Not sure if this should be private sector.

With my final year project, I want to exemplify what I’m interested in, and show the people who might hire me that I can do relevant work. I’m interested in services so it makes sense to work for the government where I could improve hospitals etc. However, I would quite like to earn enough to not worry too much about money. I think it would be good to dip into both private and public service. I see a lot of potential for private service – think at how therapists over the last 20 years or so have become insanely popular. If I can find some other kinds of service that will benefit people’s wellbeing, as well as stimulate the economy, I will feel like I have contributed something to the world.

Just to reiterate something too; designing services that people will spend money on instead of buying new clothes/objects is more environmentally friendly, because no (or hardly any) objects are made and then eventually go to landfill. People can do things for each other to make money without physical objects coming into it.

Of course another way to deal with the landfill issue (which haunts me) is recycling, or ideas stemming from that. I think that’s going to happen anyway and plenty of people are designing in that direction. For me, I don’t want to focus on that issue in my final year project; being eco is something I consider through everything I design but I don’t want to centre my work around it.

This services-replacing-some-material-goods idea is beneficial in another way, too: it will enrich people’s lives more than any retail therapy. Buying new stuff can only take your happiness so far. What people can do for each other will surely be the next step in our society’s satisfaction.

Oh and about the resources – some people say we’ll run out of resources and some say if we manage it better we won’t. Either way, new services will mean we won’t rely on physical resources as much. Well, maybe, a long long time in the future.

I’m also thinking about the growing meat from stem cells issue. If that succeeds, it’s a kind of new service. If they’re growing the meat and they can control things about it such as the flavour, fat content etc then maybe they can make stuff to order. Would it be possible to make a giant steak? Could you make a steak in the shape of a dinosaur? Now THAT would be a service. In fact, I love that idea. Do you remember those breaded chicken dinosaur shapes we used to have? People complained about them because kids didn’t know what chicken looked like, they thought chicken came from dinosaurs. What if we make steaks in the shape of chickens??

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