My proposal of the New Mediators as a design practice is meant not only to offer an approach and design language for complexity, but also as a provocation to draw attention to the need for new approaches in this area and the value that design can bring to it. The goals of the New Mediators is to twofold:
1. To create work that effectively distills complicated concepts into simple explanations.
With the New Mediators I hope to offer projects that demonstrate the value of this approach to communication and solicit similar work from others. By creating visually compelling explanations, topics that are otherwise “uninteresting” simply because they are not understood, can now be fascinating and grasped by a broader audience. The New Mediators’ approach can bring to the masses topics that are traditionally limited to an audience of specialized interests or expertise.
2. To move the communication culture of networks, governments and organizations towards designed transparency.
As previously exemplified, within the last decade organizations have become “transparent”. But this transparency has once again become opaque due to the sheer volume on information divulged. In this age of mass collaboration (as co-authors of Wikinomics Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams would say), organizations need to cater to much broader audiences. No longer is their viewership limited to the lawyers and accountants of the world. Because complex situations entangle all fields and industries, they need to be discussed and understood in all fields and industries. A broader range of people need to be incorporated into the discussion.
My point is that transparency isn’t enough. Organizations producing communications need to take on a higher level of responsibility by ensuring that they create a dialog that is understood by all the parties involved. Since the number of concerned parties is often much more extensive than perceived, the producer needs to use a language that is universally understood. Creating such a dialog serves to not only enforce accountability, but can prove to be beneficial.
From the standpoint of the individual, one can no longer isolate himself from information which he doesn’t understand. The interconnected nature of the derivatives market is a prime a example: a small rise in default rates among U.S. sub-prime mortgages escalated into a global recession affecting everyone, even those how seemed to be removed from the financial industry. Information that was once only relevant to a select group of specialized individuals is now becoming pertinent to the layman.