Design is about Changing the World; Not Selling Stuff

It generally feels so good to see a talented person getting interested in the work one does.

I felt the same when a pal of mine shared a paper entitled, ‘The Osmotic Bubble: Design Synchronicity: Unconscious Learning Through Osmosis: How Emotions and Intuition Empower Us to Imagine“, written by Niberca Polo

In Michael Josefowicz’s (her teacher in design) words:

“She teaches design as a praxis. She is the one who designed the Digit Bcorp website and the logos for Digit, Arrival City News and ACPress.  She is also a latina with deep roots in Dominican Republic with an understanding that design is about changing the world. Not selling stuff.  I have worked with +niberca lluberes over the course of many years since she was my student at Parsons. Awesome smart, gr8 dna, and a Latina spirit who has absolutely no time for bullshit. :-)”

Now the relevant snippet from her wonderful paper: —


The International Nemetics Institute (TINI’s), in India is doing very interesting work on what they call Emotional Entrepreneurship, and the relationship between “feel+think+design”. “Nemetics (Notice, Engage, Mull, Exchange, Train/educate) is a biomimicry model of information transfer” (

The term neme—sensori stimuli—is used to combine memes and genes in the service of understanding complex systems—where art and design are considered complex systems in dynamic interaction within networks (Josefowicz, 11.18.2012). When stimulating the Bilateral Brain in a learning environment that fosters intuition through sensory experience and emotions (nemes) design students will be able to learn how to design intuitively, and acquire tacit—unspoken, implied—knowledge, that can be archived in the long-term (implicit) memory through a process of unconscious (implicit) learning. Johnson in Emergence (2012) describes learning in a cellular scale as the iteration of circuits (neurons) where “memory creates a mental vocabulary” (pg. 133). Tacit knowledge is the source of our intuition—our gut feeling (Gigerenzer 2007)—and our capacity to adapt to new environments and situations, and evolve as one with technology and nature (Reber 1993).


NEME that can’t be exactly Named.

Whether it is problem solving or designing or building a business model or taking a decision or for that matter anything practical — four important abilities come together.

a) Notice or discern the ‘differences’ and ‘changes’. (N)

b) Engage with the interdependent constraints in a given context (E)

c) Mull about the dynamic interactions (M). What we think about a situation is not important since it is an opinion at most. It is what the dynamic situation (always creative by itself) wants to do or express.

d) Exchange value through re-design of some sort to change or adapt to existing conditions or assist emerging conditions to emerge the way they desire. (E)

So for any dynamic phenomenon it is a NEME that we exchange. Much depends on whether we Notice or not; Engage or not; Mull or not; Exchange or not. That would help determine both our personal and social character, influenced by our consciousness, which would ultimately determine the fate of an individual, family, community, society, nation and the world as a whole.

Therefore, in Nemetics, NEME stands for many things, such as…

a) A non-linear creative process of coming to an understanding of a phenomenon

b) 4 fundamental abilities that help us survive better

c) Creation of value

d) An exchange of some value, a quanta of energy, a natural resistance that creates newness or a constraint that helps things to flow,

e) It can be applied to physical objects and phenomenon, people, social interactions and a host of other things.

f) Expression of character that determines fate of the individual and that of the collective.

What exactly is NEME then?

Fair to say that NEME can’t be exactly named.