#9 The Conscious Designer

Dan Burgees is the co-founder of Good for Nothing and Swarm. I’m inspired by the way Dan creates momentum around the things he believes in. Dan is going to be working with the Digital Experience Design Masters students as part of their Business Strategy project. Here’s what he has to say….

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt over the last year?

I’m unlearning and learning every day. But I’d say always listen to your heart and notice what’s arising in you. Let things go that haven’t worked out, don’t let them fester.  Be kind. Be collaborative. Be honest. Have Fun.

2. What’s your burning question of the moment?

One of my learning edges is around ‘speaking from the heart’, so a big, messy, burning question that I’ve been grappling with for some years now is how to increase ecological literacy in culture and business, and how do so fast.

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What I mean by that is a wider cultural understanding and consciousness of the connectedness of all life and our total dependence on a biosphere, a living system, to support us.The damaging impacts we humans are now having on the earth and the biosphere is very troubling to me. I believe we need to become critically aware and conscious of the longer and wider impacts of our actions, ideas, inventions and creations.

Indigenous people knew this but modern humans have forgotten this wisdom. We need to walk lighter paths, more in harmony with nature.

There is an indigenous teaching called ‘seven generations’ – which considers the impacts of potential actions now in seven generations time. Imagine reflecting on our ideas now with a worldview of 100’s of years instead of our obsession with corporate quarterly earnings?

So in a world championing ‘human centred design’ I’m asking is there a more ‘earth’ or ‘life’ centred approach with human perspectives to how we should design today.

3. What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve seen/ heard/ read in the last year?

Well I keep coming back to ‘the overview effect’. 18 mins of viewing time well spent here.

4. What would be your one piece of advice to students on Hyper Island’s new MA in Digital Experience Design?

Focus on relationships not things. See the world as a living system where everything is interconnected. Spend some time in nature and explore how nature does stuff, there’s 3.8 billion years of innovation out there. Avoid TV and newspapers for a while. Be present and curious.