Michael Bonnick is the founder and Chief Design Consultant at MELB DESIGN Ideation studio and he is also a lecturer at the University of Technology in Kingston, Jamaica. Formally trained in Industrial Design in London, Michael’s design influences and career have taken him from Jamaica to London and back to Jamaica again, stimulating design spaces and carving out niches within Jamaica’s own developing market.
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Pluriverse Publication Chapter: Michael Bonnick
Written by Natalie Hudanick
Download the PDF Layout of the Michael Bonnick Chapter of the Pluriverse Publication.
First and foremost, Michael Bonnick is a teacher of design. Whether he is incorporating design into the curriculum of the courses he oversees or applying design thinking training and an innovation mindset to local organizations within the Caribbean, he is teaching about the design process.
Originally born in Manchester, England, Michael Bonnick was raised in the Caribbean, but ended up living in London for 12 years before moving back to Jamaica. It was during his time in London, and Europe, where he developed a passion for design, after being in the discipline of visual arts, working in 3D design and sculpture. With England’s more established market, design related activities are plentiful, but the real want of Michael was to bring his Industrial Design training to Jamaica to meet the need there for designer activities.
Working in Jamaica, Michael is wearing two hats: stimulating design spaces and carving out niches within Jamaica’s developing market. This has included leading a design thinking project for a social science department at the University of West Indies in Kingston, Jamaica. Design thinking was used to educate the social science faculty on how to change the way they engage with others and how to tackle problems internally. Michael is currently working with an environmental organization in Portland, Jamaica. The goal of this project is to increase awareness of marine life and to ultimately create an “in-sea swimming pool”. By using the design process, Michael is working with the local community to structure facilitation activities related to the sea and the study of marine life, including scuba diving.
To Michael, “Design Thinking” is a buzzword. It has many applications but is ultimately rooted in the design process. What matters more is the design process. Design thinking can be used in the design process as a tool, especially to help tackled socioeconomic issues that can be fragmented. According to Michael, in using design thinking as a tool, practitioners can help groups understand the pinpoints/issues that affecting the flow of information or how things cohesively work together. This then can lead to buy-in from groups eventually leading to great partnerships to help solve complex problems in some way.
Interacting with groups and organizations, by using the design process and design thinking to facilitate change, is what excites Michael. He loves to see the change in mindsets and that “lightbulb” moment people get when the design process finally clicks. Michael believes that anyone can learn design thinking. As long as you first learn the design process and how to apply it. The design process is what matters and in the application of the design process, design thinking can be used as a tool.
Michael’s way of looking at design and his love of teaching design is very profound. His way of seeing and knowing helps to make it clear that anyone can use design thinking and the design process. Michael wants to bring to fruition the learning of the design process at the high school level. This idea is ambitious, but it has the potential to really impact how individual’s problem solve throughout their life. It can possibly lead to more designers and the use of design thinking in many areas, whatever path the young student learning may walk. His consulting work with local agencies and organizations can hopefully lend itself to the developing market of Jamaica.
The Hello from the Pluriverse Podcast aims to open up and create a space to have conservations about the pluriversality in design.
This podcast is a project of the Design Thinking for Social Innovation Program at the Phyllis M. Taylor Center for Social Innovation and Design Thinking at Tulane University.
Executive Producer: Lesley-Ann Noel, Ph.D
Hello from the Pluriverse 2020-2021 Student Team
- Max Esperance – Podcast lead
- Natalie Hudanick and Michaeline Anglemire – Editors
- Tiwani Oseni – Communications
Hello from the Pluriverse 2019-2020 Student Team