Is Bureaucracy Killing Design Creativity?

Is Bureaucracy Killing Design Creativity?

Yes, most definitely!

Do you know how many government acts, local body acts and planning acts we have to look up before we even start to put pen to paper? So many that I can't list them all, and that is in a small town like Christchurch, New Zealand. We have rules and regulations to cover everything right down to the latest one I recently found out and that was about how close you can plant a tree away from a swimming pool fence!

This is getting a little paranoid, next we will be having to put a roof over the pool in case a small child decides to hang glide out the window or use hot air balloons to get over the fence. I can't believe how crazy the laws have become. I have little children and I never let them out of my sight around water, don't get me wrong, fencing pools is a great idea, but at some point we have to take responsibility for our own actions. We have streams and rivers meandering all the way through our picturesque town and we are an island so we have beaches around our coast line, do we need fences for all of these? No we don't.

Moving on from that on a positive note, we now have extremely good accessible facilities for disable persons. Huge toilets in every public space, ramps and handrails for wheelchairs , disabled car parks, all of which I find great since I frequently visit the disabled toilets with two children in tow so I can lock them in with me and don't lose them in a public space and can safely change nappies (diapers) without bashing my elbows on the sides of the cubicle. Ramps are great for buggies, prams, push chairs too.

So a little bureaucracy is good.

Right now our country has had a major set back (or a kick up the bottom) about leaky homes. Some time ago a few homes were built from substandard materials like untreated timber and lacked flashings at windows and doors which allowed water to enter the buildings and they basically rotted away from the inside out. A major uproar from the public took place as there was supposed to be a building act and code to cover these issues as well as local body authorities who issue building consents and inspect the building progress and provide building compliance certificates. Of course no one took responsibility and many people have had their lives devastated as their homes are no longer fit to live in. Guess what? Yes, you guessed it - more new rules to cover these issues.
When I first started in the design industry about fourteen years ago, the building act had just been put in place and the form for a building consent was two pages, now it is eight with a checklist of four! Just to make sure that you have crossed all your t's and dotted all your i's. You need a diploma in form filling to get to the end!

Where I am getting to is that as glamorous as being a designer may seem, there is so much paper work to make sure you comply with all the rules and regulations, that sometimes you do wonder if is worth picking up your pen and starting to design.
It is, and I just had a great idea, employ someone else to do the paperwork and look after the bureaucrats so you can work on the fun side of design, the aesthetics, as after all, that is what people perceive your design skills on, what they see in front of them, not the 20 hours of answering questions for the bureaucracy! Perhaps we could call them the bureaucrat babysitter, or bureaucrat pacifier?

Thanks for listening, I'm just getting a bit fed up with paperwork not leaving me any quality time to design and be creative and actually do the job that I love.

Comments

go lac said…
That is really true, in one month i am working with kitchens and offices and there is many paperwork than design, when i am working some creative work i am very happy, but it is often paperwork.
Anonymous said…
For me, all you stated above is quite true. Though coming from a developing country has its constraints and one cannot but wish for the scenario you stated as being benefits of bureaucracy becuase they are yet to be in place in the major cities talkless of the emerging ones.
P.S.
Thanx for creating this online course, I'm truly being blessed by it.
Anonymous said…
I completely agree! Bureaucracy *is* stifling the life out of free and wonderful design. I envy designers like Friedrich Hundertwasser, the seemingly boundless organic nature of his works - how to try and make that fit into the 3604 building code??? If it even can - I wonder how many fantastic ideas are put to death every year because they simply don't fit inside the bureaucratic box?
Anonymous said…
That's realy bad news...I knew this paper work part exists, as it exists in any field, but I was hoping to cover a too small part from a designer's work to matter. I worked as an accountant for 2 years (I just graduated business administration) and I just quit the job. I started to study interior design as I feel this field offers you a life away from bureaucracy and lots of paper work, I feel this job offers you freedom...I hope I'm not wrong and I hope a sacrifice of another 4 years of study in a completely different field will be worthy.

...one last thing...during these years of accounting work your articles made me come alive...it was like a small drop of happiness that I was waiting for each and every month...Your website helped me a lot in the decision making process of whether to make this step into this new world after so many years of economics...Thank u!
Anonymous said…
Lee, I only have a minute but I felt the need to drop you a note of support. I'm writing from Portland, Oregon USA, and believe me, we face the same craziness on a daily basis.

It's not only maddening...it's getting scarry!

My best to you and keep-up the good work. I look forward to your mailings.

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