Hi Fabricio Teixeira, thanks for sharing thoughts 👍

Let me, for the sake of a (hopefully) interesting debate, kindly challenge your point of view. Not that I necessarily disagree with your points, but I think the ethical & philosophical implications of your propositions are questionable.

Certainty of uncertainty

To begin with, let’s analyze your first proposition here:

“The only certainty is change.”

For more clarity to my coming argument, let’s define change: “an act or process through which something becomes different.”

We can then affirm that “change” is by definition a transitional state which brings uncertainty to the outcomes (of the change), as it is often difficult, complex, or even impossible to know, understand, or guess all the variables and their implications in the process. In short, this is Complexity theory (see also here and here).

Note that this affirmation is not completely true because it really depends on the current level of complexity (context) you are dealing with, but let's stick to it for now.

We can, therefore, say that what you mean by “the only certainty is change” equates:

“The only certainty is uncertainty.”

Note that even though in both cases this sounds catchy, this is a self-refuting claims as it is absolutely certain that nothing is certain — a recurrent issue with some forms of relativism. Moreover, you refute this affirmation later by saying that there are “things that will never change”.

Let me ask: is change really the only certainty? Apparently no.

Deriving To Prescriptivism

Your second proposition is interesting because unlike the first, it is a prescriptive/normative statement:

“Only when you understand, recognize, and accept change is coming, you can future-proof yourself as a designer. Instead of trying to keep things exactly as they are, focus your energy on the things that will never change.”

Here is a syllogistic version of the argument you're trying to make:

  • p1) Everything change;
  • p2) Change is part of the future;
  • c1) Therefore, you should/must accept change in order to be a good designer;
  • p3) You cannot prevent change to happen;
  • p4) Some things never change;
  • c2) Therefore, you should/must focus on the things that will never change.

Note that I replaced “future-proofed” with “good” because your proposition implies a value judgment: it is supposedly better to be “future-proofed” than not.

Okay, so the first part of the argument (until conclusion #1) is valid in its form, but premise #1 can be refuted because we can find things that don’t change, as stated in premise #4, making the second part of the argument contradictory.

Moreover, we can doubt the final imperative conclusion: “you should focus on things that never change” doesn’t logically follow from its premises “because change is certain AND you cannot prevent it”.

In other words, it seems far fetched to claim an effect from your focus on immutable things to (your knowledge/understanding of) change and uncertainty. How is it that you, focusing on known knowns, can relate to your ability to navigate uncertainty (unknown unknowns)?

All things are not equal

Another problem is that the nature of each of these things is very different: design fundamental ≠ collaboration ≠ communication. However, you are equivocating these concepts by stating they are all the same “never changing” things.

Design fundamentals are mostly the application of best practices/rules/principles, whereas collaboration & communication are very less well defined, vague, and mainly dependent on the context — therefore, much more uncertain and prone to change.

You can be a good communicator/collaborator in a specific context and bad in others. You rarely have control over all the variable that leads to this result, assuming you can even define what good means in every situation. This is mainly dependant on your ability to understand your context, as you very well described.

“You cannot control how people will interpret your message, but you can surely be more thoughtful about how you communicate it in the first place.”

Then can’t you be more thoughtful about change and uncertainty?

Ethical implications

Your entire argument requires designers to focus on what they know, their comfort zone, and remain ignorant of what they don’t know and understand.

Anyways, thanks for sharing! Love what you’re doing 👍