Celebrating CRISP

We were all baffled by this little YouTube clip with the adorable dog-like behaving sheep. The poor fellow was raised in a dogs’ nest, the story explains, and ever since he (or she) behaves like one. Nature vs nurture epitomised. Within CRISP, we have a similar juxtaposition. The program has been around for over four years now. Quite a long period for a designer, merely a blink of the eye for a researcher. The question is now to be answered: did they ever meet somewhere in between? Or, to put it differently: did researchers become sheep, designers dogs or did we all just became curious enough to plea for a second round?

Now it’s show time. Four or, in some cases, even more years hard research condensed in a … well … in a what exactly? A report? An article? Several articles? A thesis. Several theses? Or hard and tangible products and services?

Today we’ll find out. More important, however, was the unique way of reviewing the eight projects. Imagine being a researcher and constantly feeling the burden of presenting your in-between results to a critical audience. Every six months. No black box research. No ivory towers. The real thing. This, in other words, was the essence of my CRISP pitch for the last four years.

Not very different from designing and presenting your sketches and concepts to your commissioner. In this case however, without a commissioner but with an impressive overhead of boards. This brings me to the question whether the quality of the deliverables is equivalent to the sheer number of boards it comprises.

I’m on the fence here. On paper, it seems somewhat silly to have four boards. Of course we probably could have done with one or two less but in practice, involving all those people created the support the program definitely needed to convince the design sector in the first years.

‘The Creative Industry Scientific Programme will develop a knowledge infrastructure that will consolidate its leadership position as pioneer research programme within the Dutch Design Sector and Creative Industries and will stimulate its continuing growth’
Mind the capitals, I’m quoting the CRISP site here and wonder how we would now rephrase the ‘about’. Not only has the design sector unnoticeably been swallowed whole by the creative industries, but did we actually manage to consolidate its’ leadership position?

Wasn’t so sure about that in the first place but did we actually manage to defend the stronghold? We now suddenly live in a time where ‘doing is the new thinking’ and R&D has become R&Do.

In the end of course our sheep never learned to bark and most probably the dogs are still suffering from a major confusion but somehow the CRISP approach seems to fit in very well in this new reality and new and exciting challenges are worth being researched by a special breed of researchers and designers. Needs to be researched. Not only to consolidate our leadership position as a creative nation but also to rethink our profession!

  • Collumn voor het laatste CRISP Magazine en uitgesproken tijdens het laatste CRISP Event: ‘CRISP shakes it off’