Living off the coast of Utopia

Emerson said beauty gets us out of surfaces and into the foundation of things. The Shakers, Doug Engelbart (the designer of the mouse and video conferencing), the inventor of Aikido, and tech company Raspberry Pi all share a common theme — they have all brought the new into the world, increasing our social, spiritual and economic potential. And they have done it by creating beautiful things, objects, experiences.

These creators are masters of materials who have guided and guide their creations with a loving hand, and, all live or have lived off the coast of Utopia. Keeping the Utopian shores in their sights. Off course they will never get there. They choose to live with the discomfort that comes from time-to-time to anyone who dreams these kinds of dreams. And they surrender everyday to trying to make the world a little more beautiful.

Of course, we can never get to Utopia, we can’t achieve or create perfection. But that does not mean we should not try. Conceiving then striving to create that which previously did not exist is the work that makes our world a better place.

The cynic dismisses the existence of Utopia, preferring the surety of mediocrity, and worse.

Yet no pessimist ever discovered the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened a new heaven to the human spirit. As you sail along, maybe it’s wise to keep the Utopian coast in your sights.

This is what Do Design is all about. Navigating towards ways in which we can design with optimism which is really, a more enduringly satisfying way to work. It seems good things come out of it.

Extract from Do Design. Why beauty is key to everything. Published by The Do Book co. May 2016.

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