Jacob Rader

Design Philosophy

Photo taken by Megan Bontempo

Photo taken by Megan Bontempo

As long as I can remember I’ve wanted to make things.  As a kid I dismantled and rebuilt everything I could get my hands on. In college engineering was a pretty clear choice. As a professional engineer, however, I learned that I was limited to making other peoples ideas a reality. When I was honest with myself, I wanted more. I craved control over not just the what but the why of what I was making.


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The foundation of innovation.

Design research is a subjective and messy process.  Only by engaging with the chaos of peoples lives can we start to develop empathy with them. Utilizing this built-empathy alongside our own experiences we can find paths through that mess, leading us to meaningful ideas.


Ideas need room to grow.

An idea starts off as a nebulous, delicate thing. It's not until you build that idea, iterate on it, and test it that it becomes something real. So much of design hinges on our ability to ignore the ambiguity associated with something new and allow the creative process to bring that idea to fruition.


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The beating heart of design.

In research we absorb the stories of the people we meet, in synthesis we tell stories of what we saw, in prototyping we create new stories in the form of designs. Storytelling not only forms the basis of innovation, it gives our ideas validity.


A human tool.

The world is filled with hard problems that grow ever more complex, and are in ever more urgent need of solutions. These are wicked problems - tangled, multifaceted and intimidating. These human problems need human tools to fix them.  Design is the most powerful tool we have for unraveling today’s complex problems. It gives us a new way of looking at the world around us, empowering us to create ideas that impact lives in real ways.

He said that the world could only be known as it existed in men’s hearts. For while it seemed a place which contained men it was in reality a place contained within them and therefore to know one must live with men and not simply pass among them
— Cormac McCarthy - The Crossing