Recently, I visited the new Design Museum in Kensington, London, relocated from its former South Bank home. Now housed in the old Commonwealth Institute building, it’s a gorgeous use of space, light, angles, colours, and materials. Imagine the pressure on the designers creating something that meets the expectations of a design museum! An enlightening experience full of nostalgia about the history of the things we take for granted and inspiration from today’s innovations and tomorrow’s possibilities. This post looks at drawing upon a design mindset to increase your job chances and employability.
What springs to mind immediately when you think of design? A city, a bridge, a car, fashion, a mobile, a graphic, a system, or something else? We take so many brilliant designs for granted. For example, who came up with the ubiquitous zip? The symbol for a London Underground station? An anglepoise lamp? Visit the museum to find out (or you can always Google it)!
In essence design is the process or way of thinking that can be applied at any scale. The role of design stretches from the spoon to the city. Design Museum
Take the mundane road sign with directions designed by Kinneir and Calvert in the 1960s as the railways declined and the M1 motorway was being built. At its core is fitness for purpose.
Three features of design stand out:
- We are all users of products and services that have been designed.
- Designers make things that users want or need – to carry out tasks, the freedom to choose how we live or express our identities, and so on.
- Each of us has the capacity for a design mindset – the why what and how from a design perspective.
Designers think about…
- What are the needs of the user?
- Which materials are the most suitable?
- How will it function?
- How might shape, colour, and pattern enhance the design?
- What impact will the design have on the environment?
- Will our design have longevity and be sustainable?
- For what purpose is the product or service?
- Is it ethical? Commercial? For the benefit of society?
Check out this excellent podcast on how technology is improving small businesses and hear how design thinking is being put into practice today.
The design process involves research, intuition, and trial and error. For example, a rough drawing, a prototype, a 3D model. Designers ask questions and observe how users behave. They collaborate with manufacturers, engineers, and other specialists.
One of the exhibits at the museum is a collection of colourful ties designed for Jon Snow, the Channel 4 journalist. He is well-known for his distinctive designer ties. As the user, he is very much involved in the design process because:
Colour is my brand. Jon Snow
The link to jobs and careers
Here are three perspectives of job and career using a design mindset:
Design the life you want: See yourself as the user and design the life you want and who you want to be. What shape is that? How will the design reflect your identity? What is your personal brand? What is your purpose? Who do you want to benefit from your contribution to the world?
Design your job search process: See yourself as the user and design the process to get the job you want. Here are 6 steps:
- Reflect on your personality and capabilities
- Explore what you want and the job market
- Position how you present yourself online and offline
- Adjust your approach in light of experience
- Convert by selling yourself for specific roles
- Sustain your development for renewal and growth
In practice, a design mindset means researching job roles, employers, sectors, opportunities. Using your intuition for decision-making on direction. Testing and learning by trial and error through work experience. Check out this Careercake.com video of Emma Rosen who had a “radical sabbatical” of 25 careers in one year before her 25th birthday!
Design your offer for employers: See yourself as the product or service and employers/customers/ clients as the users, and design your offer to meet their needs. Show them your potential (prototype) and present yourself with authenticity (in 3D and HD).
Whatever you design, we are never the finished product and always a work in progress. How has design shaped your life today? How will it shape your future?
If you want help designing the life you want, your job search process or your offer to employers, please get in touch today and I will help you learn to leap!