Rachel Armstrong on why black-sky thinking can help us design beyond short-term issues and prepare for the unexpected by going further than what we traditionally call blue-sky thinking. Taking far reaching ideas into reality requires long term thinking: Black Sky Thinking.
My interpretation of a few main points:
1. “Dare to dream. Armstrong innovates by looking 100 years into the future, even beyond the limit of her lifetime”. Designing and innovating beyond the limits of our lifetime is what’s required in order to design sustainably and responsibly with an understanding of our impacts on future generations. Design is currently focused on creating within the short term as it’s what necessary in order to design products that will be replaced by a newer better version within a few years sometimes months and generally this is done without an idea or understanding of the impact on the environment and future generations which then creates “wicked problems” that have to be managed by a generation that did not create the problem in the first place. Long term thinking is essential to prevent such problems.
2. “Mix art and science. The merging of these previously separate disciplines has produced an explosion of creativity unseen since the days of the Enlightenment“. This is the current emergence of transdisciplinarity or the break down of disciplinary silos, the overlap of traditionally separate disciplines. The arts and the sciences require very different ways of thinking therefore combining them allows for a leap in creativity. Disciplinary silos can only take knowledge so far and the overlap of disciplines is necessary to take knowledge to new heights, especially when it involves the arts and the sciences.
3. “Talk lab. Consumers are embracing the science bit. Show off the science behind your product to draw your customers into the process”. As Rachel Armstrong previously suggested, there’s an important place for allowing the public in scientific research. Including the public in a dialogue about research is not only a way to inform and demystify what’s happening in what’s perceived as “ivory towers” but also allows for new ways to generate ideas in ways that scientist and designers might not as the public may interpret the research through fresh eyes and potentially inspire new generations of research. The current crossing of arts and science is leading to exciting and fascinating new horizons and there’s no time like the present to engage people in the possibilities.