I run a company specializing in behavioral design. Daily, I argue the importance of creating concrete solutions to help people, instead of merely talking or showing powerpoints. In addition, I love ‘classic’ design in my everyday life, both design and shape.
I use the concept of design in broad and functionalistic terms. To me, design is methods to solve complex problems based on interdisciplinarity and through the use of experiments and tests. Design is the method with which I translate a scientific theory and data-based insights into concrete solutions. Solutions regards all aspects of human life, from motor skills to opinion formation.
To me, design means solution-oriented. Design is completely open in its approach, but focused on solutions. Design is a big ‘nudge’ that can help people to keep growing problems in check without the use of coercion, threats or decreased quality of life. I am in favor of an ‘activist’ design concept according to which designers have a mission. I think design is ‘ontological’: People create design and design creates us.
Design traditionally almost equals Denmark. But we must keep working not to be left behind. Simple and beautiful design is no longer enough. Most contemporary designs, the design that affect most people’s lives, currently come from Silicon Valley and digital companies.
Design MUST make a difference. I have founded /KL.7 to help humanity help ourselves by ensuring that more good intentions are turned into action. We have created a world that is difficult to control and navigate, and where more and more daily actions are destructive to ourselves and to humanity as such. Design must ensure that human daily actions and experiences create trust, sustainability and security.
Designers’ influence and responsibility have grown tremendously. Design is becoming a universal discipline, commercially and scientifically. Few businesses can compete without a design-based user perspective. Authorities can not implement policies effectively if they do not understand the lives and actions of real people. The planet cannot survive without intelligent response to maintain a high living standard without depleting resources and ruining the climate. And many people lose self-esteem and become chronically stressed if we do not design social and traditional media, cities, institutions and jobs for the way real people are.
Mikkel Holm Sørensen is a philosopher by training and holds a PhD in IT design. Founded the behavioural design agency /KL.7 in 2011 which is among Europe’s leading in this new field. Mikkel is convinced that scientific method and new theories on the root causes of human behaviour will play a key role in design’s new call as a driver for solutions to major humanitarian, resource and climate challenges. Just as we will surely harness the latest knowledge about materials, energy sources and process management to create a sustainable future, we will also learn from behavioral science when designing products and services.