CATALYZING the Conversation: Designing Wellbeing
Re-focus. Re-invent. Rejuvenate.
Dr. Mary McBride
Issue 4 Summer 2010
This issue of Catalyst explores the role of strategic design in enabling wellbeing and creating life style choices that deepen our sense of aliveness, happiness and creative community. Our contributors help us define wellbeing and demonstrate its design in their own lives and work.
Why is it important to consider designing wellbeing into our everyday lives and enterprises? We asked our contributors to consider that question and to explore the meaning of wellbeing in a world where just being can be challenging enough.
They took the challenge. Their ideas enrich our understanding of how designing for wellbeing can deepen our experience of life, encourage our relationship with community and connect us in exchange experiences that are both rewarding and fun. We are reminded that products, services and spaces designed with wellbeing in mind can create mutually satisfying relationships between those who create the experience and those who engage in them.
We discover in each article that well being can be variously defined, but that it is more than happiness. It includes a feeling of exhilaration, a sense of mastery and control. It is both personal and collective and is enhanced by a feeling of belonging and shared commitment to goals.
Wellbeing implies a healthy blend of challenge and readiness mixed with resilience and joy.
It is a sense that all systems are “humming away nicely”. It can be designed into the moments of a life, encouraged by the movements of the body and enabled by organizations interested in cultivating aliveness.
But, not all of our systems are “humming away nicely.” Wellbeing is not a constant and availability to the conditions that support it varies across the boundaries of our world. Lack of wellbeing can create its own boundary. Life does not flourish when imagination and appetite go unfed, enthusiasm is undernourished and engagement with a living world is not encouraged.
Strategic design solutions are necessary to deepen happiness, enable a creative economy and improve both our physical and emotional connection to life.
In this issue, we focus on re-inventing and rejuvenating our organizations, our personal lives and our relationship with each other and our world.
CATALYST is an international dialogue on strategic design sponsored and published by the graduate program in Design Management at Pratt Institute of Art and Design.