Struggling with finding the right words to communicate what I do and what I am interested in is starting to become a common, everyday occurrence. I was confronted with them dilema immediately after beginning my Master's program at the University of the Arts–the "Industrial" in front of "Industrial Design" most commonly elicits thoughts of more traditional product design and does not quite convey what I am actually learning. "Social Design," "Service Design," "Public-Interest Design," "Design Thinking," and "Business Design" don't fully cover all of the aspects of my learnings and project work either. My Dad even participated in this game, calling the practice: "Innovation Dynamics, the study and implementation of innovation processes and change systems in organizations." In this one, the term "Design" has been removed, which may be a step in the right direction to cause less confusion; however, it is missing a key component that tells of our benefit as facilitators and mediators. As this battle continues, it is becoming clear to me that the best solution may be to invent an entirely new word or phrase to support a more accurate representation of what we do.
On this topic, I came across a blog post from Elephant Journal, titled: "20 Characteristics of a Transleader." that expressed a very similar concern. Here is an expert from it:
Here are some terms we made up because the current language didn’t include transcendence:
Transorganization: Organizations that design both interpersonal awareness and business strategy synergistically are more able to see and sense the macro-environment and are more able to create relevant value.
Transleaders: Individuals who understand that their leverage comes from the coordination of getting things done through others through the use of compassion, awareness, developing conduits, acquiring and distributing meta-knowledge, coordinating multiple intelligences and being excellent collaborators. Like a body has capillary systems to exchange oxygen, blood and information, transleaders do the same to create vitality for the bio-organization which we call a “Transorganization.”
Although, this does not relate directly to the terminology dilema with my Master's degree, it does speak to the idea of inventing new words or variations of current words to more precisely convey an intended meaning.
Another facet of this conflict can be seen now when Alex and I attempt to write about our studio project. Words like "sustainability" and "innovation" have become such buzz words that it is hard for us to use them to clearly express what we are trying to explore. These words immediately paint a picture in the reader's head–most likely skewed by mainstream use–well before they have been able to read our own description. This tainted view prevents or inhibits the reader's ability to re-frame the word in a new, unique context that in the end may be better than what has previously been established.
Inventing a new vocabulary or way of communicating what I do and what I am interested in is a constantly evolving process and I am sure that I will have to confront this struggle by reinventing and refining my word choice throughout the rest of my career.