But design isn’t magic. To address a wicked problem is to look for its roots — and there’s no hexagon map for getting there. Stop at “insufficient competitiveness” and what you get is a solution that can be tidy exactly because it doesn’t touch the deep causes of Gainesville’s economic stagnation. You get a solution that’s indifferent to the legacies of slavery and segregation, to the highway projects that systematically cut off and blighted East Gainesville, to East Gainesville’s miserable public transportation, and to Florida’s $8.46 minimum wage. Stop at that top turtle and you miss that it’s turtles all the way down.
There’s another problem, too. By embracing “design thinking,” we attribute to design a kind of superior epistemology: a way of knowing, of “solving,” that is better than the old and local and blue-collar and municipal and unionized and customary ways.