Getting Perspective

2020 Has brought a lot of perspective to my life, intentions and more sensitive to how I present myself to the world, the impact I can bring and the world. I love the work that I do and find great satisfaction in doing valuable work. I am also thankful to have this career where I can choose who I want to work with, the projects I want to work on and the rates I want to work for, both in Fixed and contract positions I have worked in over the years.

I have come to realize that I have more to offer to the world other than just being a resource to the workforce. A lot of the best talent is locked up in well-funded projects solving first-world problems, the % of good talent invested in real-world impact is so low and it is hard to shift the balance.  Back to my point, Having realized the real-world impact design has on business, contributing to unlocking that talent from the well-funded markets has become my life’s mission.

Most of the best talent is locked up in markets that have the money and it's just been used for profit, changing the world will need designers perspective to change and unlock real value that changes the world

Who are you, really?

We live in a world where what we do, our job has become our identity. “I am a product designer and digital strategist” that is how I introduce myself. What about all the other things that I am. That I am a Queer father to 4 beautiful daughters, that I am on a mission to change the world looks at how people learn, That I am a loving Husband, Son, Brother…  Have we lost our identity to our jobs, our careers? Who are you?

It is so easy to fall into the trap of defining ourselves with what we do for a living and not what we do in life. We are always looking from a perspective of what we can offer to the world in exchange for money and favour, well for most of us anyway. Life and school have taught us to focus on a predefined idea of success, so much we have forgotten about all the things that really matter, it is as if we almost forgot that we have our own lives and we need to live them. When was the last time you introduced yourself differently? other than just what you do to make money. After all, we spend a fortune in time and money to get us to that status all our lives to introduce ourselves by what we do.

Unlearning Traditional thinking

It has been a hard realization that all my life i have not been living my life but following dogma and other so called ideologies around how to approach life and my career, I have come to see that i am more than just a title, the human being in me has been suppressed and stripped off all the value and creativity that i was born with. The real mission i was born for is more than just making money and buying fancy things. I have a bigger purpose in life than to just print money and changing my path form poverty. I am more than what the world has defined me to be. I am Not a UX designer or a product strategist, that is what i do professionally.

We work all our lives through school and developing our education and linked in profiles. Our whole being can be summarized by the thing we do to make money never mind that we are human and we can contribute to a bigger picture. There are a lot of things that seem normal in life that aren’t normal at all, we have normalized crazy ideas because people are afraid of change, of moving forward and getting out of our comfort zones. And this is a dangerous norm to live by.

Unlocking Talent

Most of the best talent in the world, not only in South Africa is locked in the markets that have the money and make the most profit. These markets pour money into these talent pools for profit and use design just for profit. I think design and design thinking has potential to have huge impact in the world especially when living in a 3rd world country like our beautiful South Africa. A team of 5 designers can have millions of rand worth of difference to a companies bottom-line over a period of 6-12 months. Imagine what that talent can do to change the landscape of our country and the world as a whole only if we worked on ideas that really change the world and not only what pays the bills.

At the heart of design is empathy, I find it confusing that most of the design talent is locked up in projects and companies that do not share any empathy for the people they design for. I think every designer wants to work and do more meaningful thing with their life and design skills. The norms of society and our drives are usually pointed into the wrong direction and the most difficult part is that we may not even know this.

Thank some time to ponder on the fact of “Why are you on this earth” are you really on this earth just to make money and drive your dream car and live in the house in that neighborhood you have always admired. Are you on this earth just to fight to get out of poverty and live another day.

Our careers have stripped us of our humanity and willingness to live the lives we really want to live but rather we just become a cog in the system.