“Here is why The Ninth Watch is an important piece of design. Not because a big ad agency did it, or because it’s a clever media stunt. It’s important because it was designed like someone gave a damn. And not just about the science or the facts–but about you and me. That’s where design starts. And you don’t need to be BBDO to do it.”
The Ninth Watch (as of writing, already The Tenth Watch) is a campaign
for a university for science!, highlighting the longest-running experiment on The Pitch Drop. Co.Design’s line about what they accomplished is what what struck me.
Many years ago I was at a Jollibee Kiddie Party™, and to this day I remember that feeling of frustration about the less than satisfactory entertainment: emcee, programme, performances. In the back of my mind I felt that someone else, maybe my relatives, or maybe even I—even at five or six years old—could have done a better job of taking over the programme and making it more fun.
I hadn’t realized yet that the primary duty of these fastfood chain employees was to serve food and not plan parties, much less become mascots or hosts. Nor was I aware of the adage, “you get what you pay for”.
But that feeling of It Could Have Been Done Better resurfaces every now and again in various situations, and I wonder if poor execution is mostly because people simply don’t care enough. The virtue of Pwede Na; of Close Enough, That’ll Do.
Whether it’s knowing when to use “your” vs “you’re”, stepping in to deal with long lines and crappy customer service, rearranging grocery items in a cart for optimum space, or doing what children actually want and not what you think they want for their party, all these require levels of empathy.
To care enough to know what the rules are and communicate clearly. To optimize the situation and improve the experience.
Design, the act of solving a problem and imparting that solution, happens when you give a damn.