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Looking to nature and ancient wisdom to discover the new edges of design practice

In today's world, design has an opportunity and challenge to move beyond a human-centric approach and design for the health of the entire planet. But where do we start?

At thinkpublic, we believe that nature and ancient wisdom can help us discover the new edges of design practice.

We created the Design with Gaia project to develop and test tools and methods that reconnect people with nature and ancient wisdom, inspiring new ways of seeing, being, and reimagining the ecosystems and society we are a part of.

Learning from nature, we can find abundant examples of sustainable systems and design solutions. By drawing inspiration from nature, we can learn about regenerative cycles, circular systems, and the interdependence of all living things.

"Nature teaches us that everything is interconnected and interdependent. We must learn to work together, to collaborate, and to be in harmony with the planet." - Vandana Shiva

Ancient wisdom and our ancestors have also inspired creative thinking and design in various ways. For example, stories and folktales were used to pass knowledge, moral lessons and warnings that can inspire ideas for engagement and behaviour change. We can also take lessons from spiritual practices, such as meditation and mindfulness, to help develop empathy and compassion, leading to a deep connection with the context when exploring ideas.

We understand that this may sound "woo-woo," but we believe that this is the new edge of design practice. That's why the first tool we developed is the Design with Gaia deck, which incorporates wisdom from natural cycles and systems, and it is designed to help us reconnect with lessons and principles from nature and ancient wisdom. It is open for interpretation, bringing wisdom from the interdependence of life, for example, looking at trees and seasons.

In conclusion, by incorporating nature and ancient wisdom into our design practice, we can create solutions that are regenerative, sustainable, and in harmony with the ecosystems, we are a part of. The Design with Gaia card deck is just the beginning of a movement towards a more mindful and connected approach to design, one that values the health of the planet and all its inhabitants.

We invite you to join us and play with our digital Design with Gaia card deck. We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

As the Native American proverb reminds us, "We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children."

So let's work together and build meaningful bridges of reconnection to ourselves, communities and the natural world, with the hope of creating new pathways and ideas that help us design products, services and systems for a healthy regenerative planet.


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