William McDonough: His Design Vision

I have long been an admirer of the work of William McDonough. In February of 2005 he spoke before TED, and his talk was posted in April of this year (2007). I recommend the 20 minutes that it takes to listen to it.

TED’s introduction to McDonough runs like this: “Architect and designer William McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account “All children, all species, for all time.” A tireless proponent of absolute sustainability (with a deadpan sense of humor), he explains his philosophy of “cradle to cradle” design, which bridge the needs of ecology and economics. He also shares some of his most inspiring work, including the world’s largest green roof (at the Ford plant in Dearborn, Michigan), and the entire sustainable cities he’s designing in China.”

A New Conversation: Service Design Series of Papers

Over the last year I have begun the construction of a series of short papers bearing on the question of how we invent futures and enterprises in language, and conduct and manage our business in networks of commitments. My idea is that the papers will serve as provocations, inspirations, and foundations for a literature useful to practitioners seeking to build more resilient, adaptable, responsive enterprises. The plan is to publish them as part of a Wiki. There, people with experience in thinking about the design of enterprises as something centered in language will be able to adjust, add, repair, and contribute to the development of a useful literature. This literature, I hope, will be something taht we construct together, in the style of “open source” programming.

So here we announce and preview this series of papers, publishing a few initial chicken scratches to invite conversation and consideration of the idea. The initial set of papers I have drafted cover topics relevant to the questions, how do we bring action in enterprises, and what is language action? I have, in addition, sketched papers on topics such as listening, coming to resolution, preparing and leading meetings, speculating and innovating, and others. Without further ado,

Introduction to the Service Design Series
Chauncey Bell 20070418

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In seeking wisdom, the first step is silence; the second, listening;
the third, remembering; the fourth, practicing; the fifth teaching others.

Solomon Ibn Gabirol, Jewish Poet and Philosopher (c. 1021-1058)

In this series of short papers we begin to lay stepping-stones for a new interpretation of the way that organizations deliver services that will let us vastly improve how services are designed and delivered. We are doing this in “wiki” format, which will allow people who have studied what we are discussing, and who have experience in applying it, to add to it, and to incorporate it (with attribution) in their own work, as long as they share back what they have contributed.

Our intention is to begin to build a rich, shared literature about a new way of observing and talking about the design of services.
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