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PHD-DESIGN  February 2009

PHD-DESIGN February 2009

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Subject:

Re: Passion

From:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ken Friedman <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 24 Feb 2009 22:03:44 +1100

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (95 lines)

Dear Amanda,

While I agree with your view on the fact that we should be passionate
for the good rather than merely for profit, I disagree that the authors
to whom I refer were passionate about financial markets as the main
focus of their engagement. The point for me and for the people I admire
is doing things well to create human values. (Or that was the point for
those who have moved beyond the realm of passion.)

Seriously, when we speak of people like Bucky Fuller, we are not
talking about greed. Read Fuller's great book Critical Path or his
Utopia or Oblivion, both out in recent updated editions. If you don't
know Fuller's work, visit:

http://www.bfi.org/

On the management side, W. Edwards Deming is the paradigmatic figure.
His Fourteen Points emphasize contribution rather than greed. If the
financial whiz-kids in Detroit had paid attention to Deming, it would be
a far different world. For the story of that adventure, read The
Reckoning by David Halberstam. To learn more about Deming, visit:

http://deming.org/

I'm not arguing that everyone in management or management studies felt
that way. Just look at the legacy of the MBA President. But I do argue
that the point I made had as much to do with social good and common
contribution as it did personal expression and artistry. I quoted
Aeschylus with a purpose. I forget which ancient Greek it was who said
it, bit someone -- Simonides? -- said, "Who hates excellence hates the
gods." The issue of appropriate passion is central to arete -- goodness,
excellence, or virtue -- as well as to phronesis -- wisdom.

I hope you don't think that everyone interested in making organizations
work is only in it for the money. Despite my day job as dean of a design
faculty, I was a management professor for many years and I still hold my
professorship. For me, it was about making things work for human
beings.

What _I'd_ like students to be passionate about is arete and phronesis.
Whatever their profession, they are all human beings and citizens, and
without a deep foundation, no professional path truly amounts to much.

Appropriate passion is what I am talking about, and I think that's what
interests Chris, as well. See, for example, Frederick Grinnell's new
book, just out from Oxford University Press: Everyday Practice of
Science. Where Intuition and Passion Meet Objectivity and Logic.

Yours,

Ken

Ken Friedman, PhD, DSc (hc), FDRS
Professor
Dean

Swinburne Design
Swinburne University of Technology
Melbourne, Australia

Telephone +61 3 9214 6755 
www.swinburne.edu.au/design


 
>>> "Bill, Amanda" <[log in to unmask]> 02/24/09 4:19 PM >>> 
Dear Chris, Ken and all,
for those interested in a poststructuralist take on management studies,
Nigel Thrift had some pertinent things to say about  'passion for
business' in the 1990s. Passionate management was necessary to engage
the emotions, engage others and align bodies to produce creativity in
the (old) new economy. It was the romance, not the finance, that made
the business worth pursuing - workers in the bubble wanted to believe in
more-than-business. Business as a venue for personal expression and
artistry.  
Passionate design students are integral to inflationary education
markets, just as passionate management was to the financial markets of
the 'new' economy.
But we know what happens when that passion is only about competitive
individualism. Can we think a bit harder about what it is we'd like
students to be passionate about?
           
Thrift, N. (2001). ‘It’s the romance, not the finance, that makes
the business worth pursuing’: disclosing a new market culture. Economy
and Society, 30(4), 412-432.
http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~content=a713766700~db=all


Amanda Bill PhD
Senior Lecturer

College of Creative Arts
Massey University
Museum Building, Buckle Street, Wellington
http://creative.massey.ac.nz

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