Welcome to ADI

The Advanced Design Institute (ADi) works to facilitate a deeper and broader understanding of design as activity and culture. Design activity is the way individuals and organizations continuously create our world. Design culture provides the societal context that supports design activity. In a time of dramatic change and of increased complexity, design culture is more timely and crucial than ever. The purpose of ADi is to advance design culture through public education.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

What do we do when the power goes out?

Let's start 2011 out with a horrible thought. Just for fun, of course; what if the power went off? I mean really went off! A major grid meltdown so we had no way to use any of our electronic or electrical stuff. Forget about starving, freezing, being stranded somewhere and being inconvienced. Let's talk about what would we do; you and me? You know nothing. You can't use your phone, tv, i-pod, i-phone, i-pad, laptop, and neither can anyone else. No input, no output. No facebook, no e-mail, no sports, no stock quotes, no news, no lights, no information from whoever is supposed to take care of these things. The only way you can proceed is to make contact with another human...face to face. But they don't know any more than you do or anybody else does. The electrical system has failed, but you know nothing. The communication system embedded within the electrical system is useless because even if you have a generator, there is no bandwidth because there is no electricity with which to broadcast.

The system that you are so dependent upon and that you have so much trust in (but so little knowledge of) has one huge design flaw. All the fantastic innovation that attracts us to the cyber world is now without meaning. Innovation is nothing because it doesn't have a whole systems design approach integral to it. Adding more innovations to a fundamentally flawed design is a dangerous endeavor. Maybe 2011 is a good year to be thinking more about systems and design. But the buzz is all about "innovation." Dare we complicate the issue with unintended consequences?