community creative

Creative conversations

Jillian de Beer

Create new conversations

Jillian de Beer is a creative strategist who specialises in strategy for innovation and growth, enterprise development, business and economic transformation, cultural brand identity and market development. Amongst many other achievements, she founded Incredible Edge. In this wide-ranging discussion we talk about the role of creativity in the sustainable conversation.

Talking points

The type of businesses, the type of technology based applications that we need to survive in the next era

if you have a big idea, how are you going to pull off the big idea? the way you do it is getting people around the table…and saying how can we collaborate to pull off this big idea.

It’s in my DNA: making, crafting – that’s bigger than the idea.

Sensorially rich environments

When things get taken away, it’s the artists and creatives who move in and remake and reclaim that space to leave a legacy for the community to follow.

It’s extraordinary when New Zealanders stand up and are counted on their values. And they speak with true conviction about the world and its well-being, and how the people of the plant needing to take notice of change that will affect us all.

(Growing up in NZ’s rural South Island)…The vista is borderless. You grow up thinking beyond the horizon with no construct.

That’s been my life – looking beyond the office door. Looking to what I don’t see. Looking beyond to who I don’t see.

You can have paper in the in tray, and you can move it to the out tray – but what difference have you made everyday?

It’s about not just creating value, but creating change in what you are doing – that’s adding real value.

It’s also about asking who are the beneficiaries? who is this for? what is the purpose? what’s the legacy you are going to leave?

Profound shift from hierarchical to horizontal landscape.

We have a world of order and a world of disorder…and they’re all connected.

Intergenerational equity will best come from a whole of community approach. We need to learn from saying – “an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. The older people have all this wisdom and the young people are the eyes of the future. We need to take advantage of this lineage and close this gap.

People need to come together around shared values.

Sometimes you have to drop a bombshell because the future is now. We have to together, now, say what is important to us and the next generations.

Everybody has to make some action to shift the goal posts into a more positive zone. And take responsibility for what they see around them – we all have to do our part.

I don’t think some of the facts of change are really brought out, and we need to be honest about that.

Change has to come from the grassroots community. Governments are risk averse – but innovation, entrepreneurship, initiative needs community.

We need to stand up and comment on policy.

We need to celebrate roles that can make a difference.

In a resource constrained future we need to be making with a different set of resources as a choice.

If we keep thinking of things as resources, we use and use and use until it’s all gone – but if it’s an asset we might think differently.

A creative ecology is the ecosystem of people and all living things that it takes to pull off a movement.

The way of the world now is a shared collaborative experience of people who together can pull off something special.

Sometimes its change by evolution, sometimes it’s revolution.

We have to make our own communities, our own business networks resilient – be proactive

(Activist?) Yes. I think if something is wrong I do something about it. I’m pretty strong on values. I’m pretty strong on openness, transparency and honesty.

I’ve learnt if you see something really wrong, do something about it. It’s very sad when people don’t, and it doesn’t have very good consequences.

(Motivation?) The challenge to make a difference outside of my house.

(Challenges?) Continue to work further south – a journey really.

(Miracle?) Eradicate child poverty.

(Advice for listeners?) Talk to people who you’ve never met before, go outside your comfort zone, cross the line to meet people from other groups, create new conversations, get out of your bubble.


Beyond ecodesign

Yorick Benjamin

I don’t think “ecodesign” goes deep enough – it’s more about optimising the status quo rather than challenging it.

Dr Yorick Benjamin is the Director of Sustainable Design at the Falmouth University. His interest and background is in the pragmatic realisation of sustainable design products and methodologies and he has been active in a wide range of projects both nationally and internationally since 1988. Yorick’s latest work is a collaboration on the design of Sustainable Bus Shelters for Cornwall Council; 50 shelters of different sizes have been digitally manufactured using local companies and are in public use today.

Talking points

There is a need for much more responsibility in terms of product….closing loops, circular economy, don’t downcycle…

Material science has to focus on natural and renewable – almost forgotten since we industrialised

We’re only a small element, but what we can do is to show best practice in terms of using materials wisely, using them for appropriate purposes, and using them in ways that are improving people’s lives in a very obvious way.

Are design ethics and profitability in conflict?

Retrofitting sustainability to an existing design is very hard, almost impossible.

I don’t think you can retrofit at scale, it means changing infrastructure…I prefer to be supporting and growing the pioneers…the new providers.

It doesn’t matter if we get it wrong at the smaller level, so long as we learn and correct.

I want to see us make a difference and the way we do that is to make the physical artefact, get it into market to change people’s opinion and give them examples of best practice – in doing that it is OK that we get it wrong sometimes.

One of the hardest messages to get across is that you are buying product longevity…it is difficult to get that across when people’s profit horizon is a year or less.

A broader way of considering design: students don’t start with designing a tap, they start with water.

(Motivation?) Doing the right thing, making designers who are competent, happy, enjoy their work, make a living, but do the right thing and are actually ambassadors for sustainable design and the values that underpin that.

(Activist?) No…I’m hesitating, when I was younger I very much was an activist…we founded Green Drinks…I see myself as an enabler, a facilitator, but also having the vision I hope – which is to see the bigger picture, which is how we can make this gear up, get sustainable products out there.

There’s no point doing sustainable design if you can’t get products out there, you have to actually make something.