This year, in partnership with the SAIC, Greater Good Studio designed and built a new public school cafeteria. While that sounds like an architecture project, it really means designing interactions between kids and food, staff, space and other kids! The project shone a spotlight on how designers approach social problems differently than public policy folks. The community-driven research and design effort revealed new solutions including products, processes, structural elements and environmental elements. Further, it proved that designers can and should be tasked with creating new metrics for measuring their own success, and that all social innovation begins with local innovation.
The early 1990s — before the dot-com boom, and Mark Zuckerberg was still in grade school; before Steve Jobs’ return to Apple, and computers still had floppy drives — was a time ripe with the potential of the future. It was an era in which artists, filmmakers, authors, and philosophers were making the first forays into many of the applications of technology that drive global culture and communication today, twenty years later.
With the accelerated rate of change this era ushered in, it’s easy not to look back, and consider how we arrived where we are; we’re too busy identifying the next trend, the next platform, the next big idea. This personal talk excavates key ideas and media from the 1990s, which we may have forgotten, that, twenty years ago, inspired a generation to embrace digital technology and invent the world we live in today, and investigates how the many of the dreams that drove the 1990s — whether we realize it or not — may be alive today still.