Why Beauty, Elegance, and Design Matter

If you want to change the world, you have to ask audacious, world-changing questions, then set your sights on answering them. Questions like, “How do we dignify disease?” and “Can death be designed?” and “How can we connect young people to the Jewish faith?”

These are the kinds of questions IDEO Chief Creative Officer Paul Bennett tees up in one of the more inspiring talks I’ve seen on the true power of design thinking, given at Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management at month ago today. (Shout out to Avi Steinlauf, Edmunds.com CEO and Kellogg alum, for sharing!)

Bennett’s 2015 New Year’s Resolution was to “speak from the heart,” and in his address he tells five stories that he had never told before in a public forum, covering love, beauty, religion, death, and space. The topics aren’t typical fodder for industrial designers. But they go to the core of our human experience, and, really, our humanity.

“Design isn’t making things pretty,” Bennett concludes. “It’s about creating change.”

We are all designers, he implies, because we are all imbued with that power.

You can view the entire one-hour talk here. Here’s a quick teaser, perhaps my favorite clip: