This is quite a heavy topic for my first Made by Many blog post. That unforgettable quote came from Royal Voluntary Service CEO, David McCullough during a recent visit to the Made by Many studio. He was one of twenty people we talked to in order to better understand the complex issues surrounding the elderly.
This was something quite a few of us felt passionate about. Some of us have past experience either volunteering or working in the public and private sector but even more of us have parents or grandparents creeping towards inexorable decline. We inevitably found ourselves approaching the topic with two hats on: as optimistic innovators, eager to find out if any of the skills we possess could add value to the situation. But also as human beings, humbled by the scale of the problems and current efforts, and aware that we wouldn’t solve anything overnight. But doing something would be infinitely better than doing nothing.
Check out all the good stuff that we're talking about at the Made by Many offices. On the agenda this week: designing for the ageing population, open door user testing, documentaries, mockumentaries and what makes us LOL.
Tweet at @zociechowska if you'd like us to know about your cool thing.
I’ve been reading Creativity Inc. by Pixar co-founder Ed Catmull. It’s full of amazing advice and stories. I was about to post a couple of quotes where he talks about a methodology very similar to how we work at MxM, but it’s so damn good I’m just going to paste the whole lot. Over to Ed...
Yahoo, Facebook, Google and LinkedIn have all recently published diversity reports that reveal workforces that are overwhelmingly male, white and Asian.
Changing this status quo is something we’ve always cared about, though it’s not always been an issue that’s been at the front of our minds. However, this isn’t just a personal issue, but a business one. It’s been proved over and over that having a diverse and inclusive workforce is a key to business success, especially in the field of innovation.
Currently Made by Many’s gender split for fee-earning staff is 33% female and 67% male (good, but could be better), however, at the beginning of the year I wondered whether our job adverts were doing all we could to help us create as inclusive a workforce as possible.
We talk about empathy all the time at Made by Many in terms of design research and making things. But the design-technology-business sphere we operate in has regurgitated this word so many times to the point of rendering it utterly meaningless. Is the way we talk about empathy in society, but also in design research broken? And could ‘designing with empathy’ perhaps lead to misguided design decisions?
I'm not only pointing fingers at you, I’m guilty of this too. I walk into my local organic café to buy a lunch of tofu, kale and chia seeds in a biodegradable box for a bazillion £££s and then pretend to ignore the Big Issue man outside who knows exactly what I just did. Call it lack of empathy, call it #middleclassguilt, either way something is wrong here.
Despite its Ancient Greek linguistic roots, the concept of empathy saw its first surge in the 19th and 20th centuries, after which behavioural psychologists and neuroscientists have added even more nuance to its definition today. To most of us though, it's about being able to put ourselves in each other's shoes. I can still hear my mother on the crackling phone line telling me that I don't have enough of it. Neither of us do, I concluded.
At Made by Many, we work at the intersection of business strategy, product design and software development. Strategists, like everyone else here, play an important role in all three of these disciplines.
We’re looking for a senior business strategist to work with designers and technologists in a creative environment to develop new product ideas and bring them to market.