Design is a Gift

Jason Belaire discusses Design: Gift which includes the  responsibility to give back to others. PHOTO: Linda Keppinger
Jason Belaire discusses Design: Gift which includes the
responsibility to give back to others.
PHOTO: Linda Keppinger

Meet Jason Belaire - a teacher, mentor, lecturer and advisor.  Belaire is West District VP - IDSA, on IDSA’s Board of Directors and is Owner/Principal of ENFOQUE Design.  He presented ‘Design is a Gift’ at the Trend + Design Center, sharing that design is a gift one is given and that there’s a responsibility to give back. Connectivity, empathy and giving back are words that were speckled throughout Belaire’s presentation.

“Empathy is a sense.  It’s about being curious and being a fly on the wall. And by the way, you won’t get into trouble by using your ears too much”, shares Belaire to a captive audience at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market ‘16.  To design is about use of empathetic drivers to assess, create, prototype and present solutions.  Cool nerves, quick reflexes and a clear understanding of what a gift it is, to be able to design and find answers.

Empathy is a foundational requirement for a design tool-kit, it’s a way to deliver more meaningful solutions. “By focusing on emotional intelligence, people are able to transform themselves, and not be in a cocoon about what’s going on around them” says Belaire.  

The audience was eager to learn more about the components of a design tool-kit, however, more questions were shared than answers.  He asked if we were ready and able to challenge the status-quo because “life begins at the end of your comfort zone. Or are you drinking too much of the Kool-Aid?”  

What does empathy, giving back, and inclusiveness have to do with design and sustainability?  Importance is placed upon developing the eye of the decision-maker by positioning yourself as the one to innovate and exceed expectations through levers of empathy. Some important questions to ask may be “What is the real problem” and “What is the real cost?”  Pondering these type of questions can provide more meaningful solutions in a world filled with so many distractions.

Belaire closed his presentation by sharing a poem by Mary Oliver, “The Journey”, which captures many thoughts about the path toward deeper understanding and doing things to make a meaningful difference.