Development
How did I get here?

Throughout my bachelor in Industrial Design I have explored many different directions within design. Starting at Industrial Design in a project with the more typical user centered design process I was curious to explore other things ‘out there’. I came across things like participatory design, co-creation and community design. These processes triggered an interest in the human and societal side of design – working on societal problems. I also had a strong interest in the business side of design throughout my studies. It started with ‘design for multiple stakeholders’, ‘trends and forecasting’ and ‘technology entrepreneurship’. However, I felt that there was more to explore here – especially looking at the context of societal problems. Therefore I did a minor at the department of innovation sciences where I was introduced to the concept of sociotechnical systems, ethics and different world views.

Transformations have an impact on society. One of the questions that intrigues me is how can we use design to generate impact on all of these levels.

Coming back to ID for my final bachelor project I wanted to explore these concepts from the perspective of design. I joined Philips Design to work on value mapping for perinatal healthcare for vulnerable women – an example of a complex societal problem here in the Netherlands. Here I found that my strength lies in zooming in and out between the practical and the abstract and looking at systems. To explore my interests within design further I kept working on perinatal healthcare in my first master’s project at industrial Design. Here I worked with the Transformative Practices framework and was introduced to the phenomenological way of thinking. This highlighted my interest in working with different perspectives in design and the importance of doing this.

Currently I am combining my interest in design and systems thinking in my research project at the Province of Noord Brabant. Here I work on multi-stakeholder collaborations for impact investments and evaluation, where public and private investors invest in social enterprises.

01.

Research.
Master's project.

On the role of design in multi-stakeholder collaborations. Exploring the interface between design, systems theory & impact evaluations in multi-stakeholder settings.

02.

Collaboration.
Multi-stakeholder.

Exploring different multi-stakeholder collaborations through now working at the province.

03.

Networking.
Explore opportunities.

Creating a network through my projects, honors and working. Opportunities for after my master’s degree.

Future Steps
How to design for transformation?

I am interested in designing for the transformation of systems – on all levels. This is also the reason why I have chosen the Design Leadership and Entrepreneurship track. Working on societies in transformation means working on a strategic level as well as looking at the messy reality of everyday life. It involves having a strategic mind and being able to work on multiple levels at the same time. Next to this, the transformation of ecosystems involves the transformation of companies, organizations, institutes and even networks. One of the main questions that currently intrigues me is how design can support the creation of impact on all of these levels. This leads me to ask some questions to myself.

Vision for the future?

As a designer I am very interested in working on complex societal challenges in multi stakeholder collaborations. Here I can explore the value of design in complex societal challenges and multi-stakeholder collaborations through practical projects. One of my main interests here is designing on a more strategic and abstract level in different contexts. I would therefore like to get acquainted with working in multiple contexts – where the role of design could potentially be different.

An interest on design at a strategic level also means that I have an interest in having a strategic management or creative director function within a large organization – where I have an influence on the visionary direction of an organization. This also means that I have to develop myself professionally to become a transformative leader who can also work strategically.

Next to this, I have a growing interest in research on the same topic. I feel that research on the topic is key to bring it further in practice. Therefore I would also be interested in incorporating more research into my DLE master’s program and explore more research opportunities for the future.

04.

Develop.
Professional skills.

Getting comfortable - Practice giving workshops, presentations and facilitating sessions

05.

Explore.
Professional position.

Continuous development of my profile as a ‘designer’ - Study different leadership profiles and other professional profiles to find out what my position could be

06.

Discover.
Strategy.

More ‘strategic’ involvement with projects: through my final master’s project or honors project.

Future Steps
How do I see myself?

I strongly believe that leaders are people with an intention, who are visionary, inspirational and connect other people. I would say I see myself as a transformative leader as I feel very much connected to a style of leadership that raises human consciousness, builds meanings, and inspires human intent as the source of power [2].

An important reason as for why I identify with a transformative leadership is that a transformative leader is engaged with the wider society – not just a firm. This first very well with how I work as a designer when working on wicked situations. Not tied to a single organization but also looking at the more systemic level – to the wider society. This also means that for me I would like to have more freedom than to be tied to a social, public or private context as a leader.

Transformative leadership starts with recognizing the realities of everyday life and the broader social and political sphere. Recognizing that the inequities and struggles experienced in the wider society affect your ability to perform and to succeed [2]. Sometimes transformational or even transactional leadership processes might still be needed if my job would entail also managing projects or even a firm.

I would thus not say that I am an entrepreneur or intrapreneur. Although I may have some entrepreneurial qualities. For me entrepreneurs are ‘speculators in an uncertain environment’ that ‘seize opportunities with a view’ [1]. These are two entrepreneurial qualities that I believe are also very important to my work and I will continue to work on these.

07.

Research.
Academic writing.

learning how to write academic texts and communicate my work through writing a paper about Constructive Design Research for Systemic Change potentially for an academic journal

08.

Exploring.
Different fields.

Diving deeper into systems theory & … to figure out different ways to further develop myself for working on these sociotechnical systems and complex societal problems.

09.

Future plans.
Graduation.

After my master’s program I would like to first continue in the field of research I am currently exploring through potentially doing a PhD.