“We have to solve for whole systems, including the margins.”
Soon after completing a chapter for Dr. Natalie Nixon’s book, Strategic Design Thinking: Innovation in Products, Services, Experiences and Beyond, Sarah realized she wanted an easy, visual way to explain a complicated subject: complexity.
She’s always loved to draw, so she created a PechuKucha, or a presentation with 20 slides that are shown for 20 seconds each, for a total of six minutes and 40 seconds. It was first developed by Astrid Klein and Mark Dytham of Tokyo’s Klein-Dytham Architecture.
Sarah used the method to tell the story of a bird that had died on the Midway Atoll after its parents had fed it plastic they had mistaken for food. She wanted people to understand that designers have to look at the problem through the lens of all the systems that interconnect in the bird’s story, from plastic developers, to businesses that use plastic for their products, to governments who create laws dealing with plastic production and disposal, to consumers who choose to or not to buy plastic products, to businesses that could profit from ideas that help remove plastics from the system and so on. She also wanted to explain intended and unintended consequences of action points.
“We have to solve for whole systems, including the margins,” she explains.
But complexity doesn’t dissuade her.
“Grappling with the challenges of what we should build and why, seeing the opportunities, and envisioning how our work can design our way to a better world, inclusive of all—it is the challenge of a lifetime, and it’s a privilege to be a part of it,” she says.
Sarah presented the PechaKucha at EPIC 2018: Evidence in Honolulu in October 2018.