Since 2004 I change the direction of my profession, from being a full time architect that worked in different kind of construction commissions to be a social strategy developer, working together with different stakeholders to develop projects that create value in many aspects, value for the local community, for the people and companies involved in the project and for the environment. I didn’t quite completely my activities as architect. I use my design skills to co-create products and spaces to achieve more impact implementing these social strategies. Some examples are the Exhibition of Desycling Amsterdam in 2008 or Van Recycling tot Redesign in 2006.
The design of social strategies is intensive and heartwarming work. It is not about making a plan from the studio, but it is about making a plan together with many participants. Going out and talk with many people. It requires much listening, empathy, and team work. I believe this kind of work will be more and more common in the future, as we are switching from ego designers ‘that come with the fantastic solution’ to facilitators, activators of change. Check projects labeled as ‘social design’ to learn more about these strategies.
We need to develop many social and psychological skills in order to implement social design strategies successfully. The secret is to be open and willing to develop skills that you even never before imagine you will develop. I believe the best way to learn is willing to learn, and by doing it. It is like being mother, nobody teaches you how to be a good mother. It is a matter of willing and feeling. If you really want to become a great mother or father and start asking yourself ‘how’ questions during the process, you will be always in the right path!
In the next years I will focus myself on transferring knowledge & experience (even more than in the past) to young professionals. Letting them the space to learn, facilitating the social design process in the practice. If you want to know more about the plans and if you are interested in this subject, feel free to contact me, there is much to do!