Is it possible for us to perceive the future? Is it possible for us to understand the design characteristics of the future?
Of course we can!
We can do that if we change the way in which we perceive the present and future. To do this, we will need to transform ourselves from being mere observers to being initiators who fully use our creative potential to anticipate future needs and to develop solutions.
We may already know that the answer lies within ourselves, specifically, within our way of thinking about and evaluating the world. But theoretically, bridging the gap between theory and practice is difficult since our thinking is affected by traditionalism, dependency and waiting to adopt the results of others' experiments, rather than developing our own.
The real situation in professional design is quite different, for example in the fields of visual communication, multimedia, architecture, interior and industrial design. Similarly, all academic and professional institutions are responsible for their own production. Any designer will be unable to produce adequate work if he/she is not essentially a creative being. A designer's productivity is also related to the environment in which they are working which must support the creative process at all stages of the product's design and manufacture. It is so important that the designer works within an environment that supports their vision, allowing them to anticipate and design for future needs on projects which are also supported with financial input and the necessary craftsmanship.
Politicians observe and analyse the world and then produce strategies to solve the problems they find. In design, we employ observation, analysis and strategic problem-solving as well. Our present, past and future are interconnected. Transformation of our present involves both observation of our current situation and extending our eyes towards the future and towards the vision we wish to achieve. Even if no-one has succeeded with these ideas before, we may still aim towards them. It is also necessary to be well-prepared, to have the correct tools, knowledge and learning in order to work towards our goals.
Confusion is caused by the amount of information that we deal with when observing the future and its constant changes: geographical information, economics, environmental issues, etc. For example, worldwide differences in climate, global warming, CO2 pollution, overcrowded cities, increased motor-traffic, air pollution, the increasing growth of the human population and it's needs. Life itself involves constant development in all fields! Yet, it seems that we ourselves are the source of these crises! Yes indeed we are and this is primarily because of our carelessness in failing to think positively about our future needs. So often we deal only with our immediate daily responsibilities and requirements, without anticipating the need to provide for the future.
The question is then: what type of role must the designer adopt to face these changes in our lives and our future requirements? The answer is simply: that the designer must allow his creative potential to interact with the environment to anticipate product needs and to create the best design for the future. The designer should not overload himself and his concepts with concern for the near past and the present. If we think about it, the distance between ourselves and source of our creative inspiration, our history and the present environment, is very small.
We should permit ourselves to positively create, understand and learn about the future language. This will be achieved through developing ourselves, our potential and expanding our knowledge. As designers, we need to be able to be innovative and creative, to think deeply about the present issues and relate these endeavours to the future. Creativity is not the place for fear, and we should not allow the fear to stop us being innovative and creative. Further, the aim of our design must be to produce a product that is useful with relation to it's intended function.
What we need is called Optimistic Futurism, it is the way towards confidence, transformation and creativity, Optimistic futurism will enable us to develop our technical potentials, skills, and enable us to deal with digital softwares and new technologies. Optimistic Futurism is an attitude that will serve our creativity, as it is a logical solution and will not affect our ability to create and innovate. Indeed, a designer equipped with knowledge and experience will be a source of power, having the ability to control his production in a positive and useful way.
As much as our task is to deal with the future, we will be able to increase our creatively and innovation to achieve this end by adding self-belief and a desire to be forward-looking to the mix.