Few have crafted deeply sensory experiences like Stanley Kubrick.
Systemic. Intentional. Visceral.
It is the congruence of a mindset to look systemically and to work intentionally and viscerally that creates clarity of foundation for us as individuals, organizations, and communities.
A few years before Stanley, as an ancient Greek walking through the Acropolis you were immersed in a time and place that connected you directly to culture, community, and your place in the world. The shape of the Greek temple columns, entasis, reinforced an absolute clarity of purpose and belief. The Medieval Church continued the same purposeful experience. Reinforcing intent, purpose, and story.
Everything was intentional. Everything was designed.
As children, we innately know our inherent need to connect to the environment and design.
We work here, and we learn here.
We know the root of this. Trapped in old models of perceived efficiencies, low-risk, maximization, and being right. We sleepwalk through our environments and have been short-circuited of our fundamental need for creativity. A need never more important than today.
We continue to invite people to do their very best in these old systems with old metrics, old language, and environments reflective of those models – cube farms and concrete block painted in the school colors. Asking them to work smarter. How many of us have said it? Or been told, just work smarter? Not possible handcuffed by old models.
We build ideation rooms instead of building cultures of ideas. The challenges of today require systemic thinking. As organizations, we struggle to understand our purpose, Our Why, and moreover, we struggle to craft experiences that reinforce our stories and give others the tools to tell their own stories. Understanding our purpose and experience are essential to foster deep human connections and are foundational to our creativity, curiosity, discovery, and compassion. The monumental changes in communities, the workplace, and school demand us to be systemic, intentional, and visceral.
It wasn’t that long ago that we did work systemically and experientially. Everything designed around a sense of purpose, being, and community. The Bauhaus and the Eames did it by being Systemic, Intentional, and Visceral.
Systemic. It is the congruence of purpose and experience that is fundamental to a systemic view. Everything is rooting in and springs from this purpose, the why. Product, metrics, organization, curriculum, storytelling, communications and environments.
Intentional. By having a broader view of design one driven by the crafting interactions and behaviors, beyond the object, and considering every touch reinforcing purpose, experience and story.
Visceral. Qualitative. Answering how does each touch feel? Cinema provides the clues with deeply sensory experiences that are purposeful and reinforce story. It uses color, light, texture, movement, structure, sound, technology, all to reinforce a clarity of purpose and experience. Something that is many times missing from design and architecture and when we consider our businesses and stakeholder experiences.
Danny and the Overlook Hotel. At its time, the Overlook Hotel was the largest set ever constructed. The sheen of the plastered walls, the light, carpet, the development of the Stedicam, all reinforcing story. All to immerse you into the labyrinth, the emptiness, of the hotel. And to scare your pants off.
When it works.
You have a visionary person that recognizes the ecology of an organization, its work, and its stakeholders. GS, call him GS, was brought into a legacy design firm whose CEO at the time saw a market struggling with the ambiguity of the changing times and demanded more thought leadership and a deeper contribution from its design partners. GS brought a systemic mindset to the organization. Not ‘fixing’ the work, but designed the whole. Metrics, organization, processes, work environments, language, behaviors, all driven by a clarity of purpose and intentional. The result was a highly collaborative, trans-disciplinary practice that began generating award-winning and recognized work, increased revenues and client base, exceptional recruiting, and a culture that reflected a clarity of purpose.
Herman Miller and Patagonia reflect this same purposeful, systemic and intentional view. We know when it hasn’t worked too. GS left his firm and almost every advancement was undone resulting in significant loss in the market, recruiting, leadership and creativity. You must see it through, its not easy but the benefits have proven to be extraordinary.
We all do it already. Francis Bacon surrounded by his inspiration, the tools we use. Whether we are designing a theater set, a production, a learning environment each one is rooted in a systemic view, intentional in the design of each engagement, and visceral in each experience.
These learning and work environments are begin to blur because are beginning to look in a much broader view considering purpose and experience. Asking what does it mean to nurture critical problem solving, to be truly collaborative, and to be a community. What happens when we consider design and the environment as an agile, dynamic tool unlocking our creativity as individuals and organizations.
We are covered in the shrouds and layers of old models, old language and behaviors, old metrics, thinking and acting in silos. When we grab hold and release these shrouds, shaping this congruence, we can craft a fundamental difference.
Systemic. Intentional. Visceral.
We are unshrouded. We are truly creative.