I saw the angel in the marble and I carved until I set him free.

Reader Feedback: Design as the Removal of Disorder

It’s always nice to hear from followers of this blog. We are lucky to have thoughtful, engaged readers who take the time to reflect and share their feedback and ideas. After our recent post, Design Mindset: Bridging the Gap Between Product Design and Systems Thinking, we received a thought-provoking comment that deepened the conversation.

Terry Pageler, a Kansas City-based B2B analyst and business builder, wrote:

“Great points, Al. Be it aesthetic or functional (and who doesn’t want both), might one think of design as removal of disorder? … Everyone is a Michelangelo in his or her own way as we begin with our respective block of stone and chip away all extraneous matter.”

Terry’s idea of design as the “removal of disorder” resonates powerfully with Jules Feiffer’s observation that “design is important because chaos is so hard.” Design requires intentional thought about purpose and efficacy, and when we face problems (whether the need to create a new product, improve institutional performance, or resolve conflict) with a commitment to removing disorder (the aspects of the situation that are standing in our way), we are empowered to create solutions that serve us and others.

Michelangelo, one of history’s finest sculptors, is said to have remarked, “I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” By removing the extraneous matter around the angel he envisioned within, he created an enduring work of art that continues to inspire viewers more than 500 years later. Terry’s comment perceptively draws a parallel between that great work and the efforts of today’s designers, entrepreneurs, and innovators to remove disorder from our lives and create solutions to the problems (big or small) that we face.

In these chaotic times, the thought that we each can, through careful thought and decisive action, remove disorder and craft peaceful solutions is powerful and resonant. So thanks, Terry, for sharing your perspective with us, and thank you to all of our readers for being stakeholders in the work that we share and the solutions we discover together!


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