OCHWW @ SXSW: Bruce Mau's 24 Principles for Massive Change
my very first SXSW lecture experience
– josé mendoza 2018
24 principles for massive changeBRUCE
Who is this guy? What does he know?
It turns out that he knows quite a lot
and is often requested to work on
expansive projects which most
designers only ever get to dream of.
Mr. Bruce Mau’s session was my very
first SXSW lecture experience and I
instantly connected to his principles.
They reminded me very much of my
college days, when I was learning
from my design professors over two
decades ago. Today, these principles
are a reminder on how to approach
everyday challenges in our field.
Possibly helping us stay current,
relevant, and fresh... ever pushing
our ideas to new heights. On a
more personal level, some serve as
validation to moments in my career
where my viewpoints were too easily
dismissed by people in power.
Bruce Mau is a Canadian designer. He started as a graphic designer but later focused on architecture,
art, museums, film, eco-environmental design, and conceptual philosophy.
From 1985-2010, Mau was the creative director of Bruce Mau Design (BMD), and in 2003, he founded
the Institute Without Boundaries in collaboration with the School of Design at George Brown College,
Toronto. In 2010 Mau went on to co-found The Massive Change Network in Chicago with Bisi Williams.
In 2015, Freeman, a global provider of brand experiences, appointed him Chief Design Officer.
Mau works with Freeman to drive innovation in the events industry. (Thank you Wikipedia)
Clients once asked, “How do you do what you do?” which inspired
Mr. Mau to create—and speak to—these principles
Mr. Bruce Mau begins… “We live a designed life”
and I quickly realize that my task of sharing
my learnings will require more than just a
well–written essay. I’ll have to put together
a presentation—using the same examples,
the very same words Mr. Mau used.
– josé mendoza
Our time is what we have. We have to make the most of it.
What responsibility do we have to sustain the life around us?
The life that we want?
To say it a different way, do any of us remember life without
a smart phone in our pocket? Think of all the things we now
have at our ﬁngertips... think also how design has shaped
our homes, cities, country and world.
Good design (good experience)
equals good life
how do we best design the future
we want? how do we improve society?
What exactly are we responsible for
as designers, writers, creators, makers?
How are we shaping our world? Where are
we headed and how are we getting there?
The old medium vs the current... which we will eventually change
LISTEN CAREFULLY. Every collaborator who enters our orbit brings with him or
her a world more strange and complex than any we could ever hope to imagine.
By listening to the details and the subtlety of their needs, desires, or ambitions,
we fold their world onto our own. Neither party will ever be the same.
MR. MAU SHARED THE FOLLOWING STORY: We were invited to go down to Guatemala in
the hopes that we would be able to create an event to help their citizens feel a sense of pride
and unity with their nation once more. This was soon after the country had undergone a 36-year
civil war. After such a long time of turmoil and bloodshed, it’s understandable how people
could feel displaced and distant. One of the members of the committee they met with even
suggested we possibly change the name of the country, explaining that even the origin of the
name, Guatemala, wasn’t something positive to begin with. The person explained that when
the settlers had come to the country, they expected to find similar natural resources as were
found in some of the other Central American nations. Such was not the case and thus the
word ‘mala’ was added to ‘guate’—which today is slang for a local, average person (someone
not necessarily of great worth).
Eventually, this insight became the catalyst to
creating a love movement that would generate a
ton of social media coverage and invigorated that
sense of pride, of claimship, that had moved to
the background of the population’s memory.
The solve was to add a single, powerful character
between the words ‘guate’ and ‘mala’: the letter a.
explore everything, think
of every possibility, push
it further, follow all roads
Work the metaphor. Every object has the capacity to stand for something other than what is apparent. Work on what it stands for.
Mr. Mau asked us to imagine a world where Elon Musk decided to put all of his
dynamic gadgets into a minivan instead of a stylish work of automotive art.
Would we have been drawn to get inside—and explore—TESLA then?
My takeaway: In anything you’re creating, strive to make it its best self. Dress it
to be ready to attend prom, dine with the Queen, or reach the heavens.
Psst, this slide is an example of NOT COMPETING WITH BEAUTY
NOT JUST FOR ALL MANKIND,
BUT, ACTUALLY, FOR THE WELFARE OF ALL LIFE.
THAT’S OUR MISSION!
ARE WE TRYING TO MAKE THE WORLD A BETTER PLACE?
WE CAN DO SO—AND HAVE BEEN—COLLECTIVELY.
EACH OF US DOING OUR PART TO MOVE OUR PIECES ALONG.
ALONE, WE CANNOT DO EVERYTHING.
WE NEED OUR TEAM. OUR CLIENTS. PEOPLE TO LISTEN.
AND PEOPLE TO QUESTION. WE NEED EACH OTHER.
Post SXSW | How can we use these in our respective fields?
A Designed Life: In anything we do or tackle, we should consider how others
have done it, prepare ourselves thoroughly, and create anew. The process goes
something like this... Thinking. Creating. Testing. Learning. Modifying. Testing.
Learning. Modifying and so on... This is valid for a conceptual campaign; for
presenting to a live audience; for work reviews with our bosses. Facts & Optimism:
What sources are we using to arrive at the ideas, concepts, movements that will
yield the best results? How do we maintain our resolve to find answers? Let’s Fail
& Learn & Win: In short, never give up! Even when given only 5 minutes to deliver.
Even after you’ve handed over your work. There may be opportunities in the future
to make it better. Make It Beautiful: The goal is to make it appealing to everyone...
draw them in. One With Our World: Consider the space your creation will occupy.
Where it will be shared. Don’t build a skyscraper in quicksand. Don’t whisper when
presenting on stage. Use whatever is there to improve your thing. We Move As
One: We need each other to accomplish greatness. We win or we lose as a team.
Give it your all. Trust that the members in your team are doing the same. Find Your
Passion | Work On That: Figure out what moves you and strive to continuously
do more of it. Thank you. — José Mendoza