Who am I (as a designer)?

Last Friday, I was lying in bed at about 10pm when I stumbled across Lauren Currie's recent talk she gave as part of Webdagene 2015 - The science of doing good things. I actually met Lauren earlier in the year at a Hyper Island event about Experience Design that I attended believing that it would be beneficial to my Social Mobile Apps module. I actually left that event feeling very intimidated by Lauren, and I was feeling exactly the same again as I watched her on the Friday.

It dawned on me then that I wasn't intimidated by her - she's actually a really inspiring woman who's doing great work. I was intimidated by her passion and enthusiasm for design, and how we can use design to change the world. It was a fire and passion, I noticed, that I was missing in my approach to design, and that made me feel nervous - why did I not have this fire?

I've noticed it a lot more this year as well - a lot of design role models are my peers that I see everyday in the studio. This is because of their enthusiasm towards design, who all are tackling design issues that they're passion about. And yet I wasn't intimidated by them - I actually felt a sense of belonging with them. So what was I passionate about?

I'm passionate about how we're interacting with information and each other in the digital age. How we're asking questions and if there's a way I can create an alternative that stops us relying so heavily on Google and Wikipedia. This is why I'm dedicating my Honours Project to this topic.

Why am I interested in this? That's something I've neglected to ask myself the last few weeks. I was originally going to base this project on the creation of communities, especially digital communities. I was always fascinated how little cultures develop amongst these communities and so I started off reading about communities of practise. 

My project's focus shifted once again as I began to read the ideas of Ian Leslie in his book Curious - I won't go into detail because it's all in blog posts about my project, but the idea of the digital age stifling our natural curiosity really struck a chord with me. I explored this more after I conducted an internet drought earlier in the year, where I went a week with no technology or internet for a week, and realised how much of an impact technology has had on our lives - a people issue I'd like to try and tackle. (I don't think I'm going to reinvent the wheel, but I'd like to propose another alternative to just Google and Wikipedia)

And because of the internet drought, I found that I have a passion for how social media has negatively affected our lives - I explored how easy we find it to hold grudges now over these platforms where we'd be less likely to in face to face conversation, and how lack of social media in the digital age can have an affect on you. Less of people issue I want to solve but I'm passionate enough to comment on it and design and write a 6000 word magazine around the topic. 

I think I'd like to thank Lauren Currie because if I hadn't sat down and watched her talk, I wouldn't have sat down now to type up what makes me tick as a designer, something that I've been putting off thinking about for a long time. I certainly now see I'm passionate about something, I just maybe don't feel it as strongly as some people do. And that's okay. I'm Ryan Hutcheon and I'm passionate about design in my own way.