The Desire Issue

/NOW ON NEWSSTANDS

/Spring 2015: The Desire Issue

Desire. it’s everywhere and nowhere. Since solving issues of food, water, and shelter, desire has prevailed over survival as the primary driver of mankind. Arguably, every theme we have explored – from style to simplicity, brand to breakthrough – has been rooted in desire.

Looking at the many faces of desire, it is dangerous to be afraid of understanding it. Granted, it is a daunting task. Many of our contributors have clearly stated in their pieces that it is impossible to understand desire wholly, requiring multiple angles. For example, where empirical observation fails us, we will go directly to the source: the brain. And if the material possibilities of our 3D-printed future become too farfetched, we will question if it is the objects of desire we’re after at all. Meanwhile, we may find that whatever big data can measure, human nature will still continue to surprise us.

Above all things – convenience, efficiency, opulence, riches – humans’ greatest desire is still freedom: Freedom to think, freedom to feel, and freedom to want what we want, when we want it.

Read Articles From This Issue

Decoding Desire: A Behavioural Economist’s Opinion

A recent Consumer Reports survey found that 90% of Americans believe they consume a healthy diet, when in actual fact, nearly 70% of Americans are overweight with nearly 35% being obese. There is clearly a discrepancy here between what people say and what they do. But also consider this: Why don’t these findings apply to other relatively rich countries,…

Decoding Desire: A Foresight Strategist’s Opinion

In the summer of 2014, a man drove around Beijing’s nightlife district in an $800,000 Lamborghini and invited random club-going women to climb in and take a ride. While a few of the women turned the offer down, most of the women that the driver approached needed little convincing to get into the car. One woman even offered her phone number to the driver without being prompted, while another invited…

Mirage: An Exploration Of Consumer Fulfilment

What do advertisements really sell? Their effect may be to drive purchase of a given product or service, but what they are often selling is something more nebulous. Contemporary advertising and marketing are in the business of creating and cultivating desire. Car commercials sell not just a vehicle, but a social status. Beverage advertisements promote not a product, but…

The Neuroscience of Desire

We are what we want. Our personal desires are the result of our values, our needs, our aspirations, our cultural programming. What deeper insight could we have into the character of someone than understanding what they truly desire?  Beyond our own individual bubbles, desire makes the economic and social world go round. It’s a subject worth understanding, with some of the greatest recent…

Here To Serve: Effective Consultant Or Just A Yes Man?

Consulting is based on desire. Consultants exist to fulfill the desires of top companies and business leaders to fill the gaps of capability, capacity, or creativity. Despite the glamorous jet-setting fast talkers depicted in shows like House of Lies, management consulting is as much a service industry as it is about expertise. From the middle to executive management, leaders desire…

The Necessity of Pleasure and Finding the Pleasure of Necessity

In times when the rights to freedom are becoming more nuanced, desire and health remain two apparently incompatible quests. Could the future hold opportunities to transform this dichotomy into an alliance of unexpected, valuable, and meaningful synergies? At first glance, desire and health may seem to be almost opposites. Desire is often seen as an uncontrollable, mostly emotional, and sometimes physical power. Health is mostly associated with the medical and mental state of the body, a consequence…

Love Is a Decision: Here’s How Data Can Help

Should you wish to take the plunge, choosing your life partner is the most important decision you will ever make. The magnitude of this decision becomes apparent in many moments throughout the relationship. It begins with the hour you share at dinner, amplified with the two days during a weekend getaway, peaking with the eighteen years spent raising your child. Despite this tremendously important choice, people tend to ignore conventional wisdom when…

Taking the Scenic Route to Success

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”– Paulo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed During…

The Designer’s Playground

How will additive manufacturing impact freeform design? “The marble not yet carved can hold the form of every thought the greatest artist has.”—Michelangelo When speaking of production at scale, Michelangelo was wrong. Not every thought or idea can be realized. Every designer must keep in the back of their mind the limitations of production lines: Can this concept be manufactured? How many pieces will be needed? How will they…

Skillful Desire and the Buddhist Path to Better Business

Ever since Milton Friedman proclaimed that the market is “amoral” and the sole purpose of business is to make a profit, commerce has used the license of free market ideology, not only to excuse itself from any moral obligation towards the society in which it operates, but to threaten the bonds that have held that society together. At this juncture, neoconservatives would…

Can You Help Helping?

Altruism is a celebrated virtue. We desire to be giving and selfless individuals who do not seek anything in return for our helpful actions. We idealize altruistic and selfless behavior and punish selfishness and ruthlessness. In the last few decades, a number of businesses have engaged in some form of corporate altruism. But is this…

Of Desire: An Interview with Dr. Sherrell J. Aston

Celebrated by Vogue, New York Magazine, and Oprah herself, Dr. Sherrell J. Aston is an internationally recognized expert and practitioner of aesthetic surgery by both the public and the medical community. Since man’s first glimpse of his own reflection in water, we have been pursuing our own physical ideals. We’ve surveyed our silhouettes, scrutinized asymmetries, and zeroed in…

Of Desire: An Interview With Stephen Kotler of Douglas Elliman

Stephen Kotler is chief operating officer of Douglas Elliman, the renowned real estate company responsible for sales much like One57 and others around the globe. In October 2014, a three-bedroom apartment in Manhattan was sold for $34 million dollars. It was the most expensive sale of the week. Its runner-up, another three-bedroom, was sold for $27 million…

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Code is logical. Code is practical. Code is so far removed from the volatile jumble of emotions that human beings are — and yet code has kindled millions of romances across the globe: a paradox that begs the question “how did it do it?” However, unlike the traditional experience of meeting through a human intermediary, each of these online services tailor themselves to our…

Artificial Desire: Build Your Own Partner

A cursory search of the all-knowing internet will reveal that I am far from the first person to write about this topic. In fact, in addition to countless books, articles, videos, video games, and preachy religious websites, this past November even saw the First International Congress on Love and Sex With Robots, featuring such panels and presentations as “robot…

Of Desire: An Interview with Joshua Kane

Having cut his teeth at designer houses such as Paul Smith, Burberry Prorsum, and Jaeger, Joshua Kane now works as a bespoke designer and tailor for his namesake label. Somehow – between the loincloth and the Levi’s – modern fashion became the primary currency in the desirability olympics, despite being a paradox of mass-produced anonymity and individualism-driven…

Identity and Individuality: The Art of Belonging While Being Yourself

The fascinating complexity of child development has been studied for years – with many genius minds from Bandura to Vygotsky providing great insight into how a fetus can grow into an individual with extremely particular preferences and personalities. In Bandura’s social learning theory, he powerfully argues that preferences extend well beyond variations in taste, and…

The Customer Doesn’t Come First

How to create exceptional employee experiences for exceptional customer experience Great companies are built on great people. While this obvious statement is widely uncontested, the practice of building cultures of performance is elusive to many organizations, both large and small. In our work with Fortune 500 companies, it’s clear that the number one determinant for delivering great performance as an organization is having people who believe in its values, mission, and…

What a Feeling: How Collective Desires Fuel Innovation

In both professional and personal contexts, desire is an incredibly powerful force. It is the emotional fuel for action. American therapist and author Anodea Judith explains in her book Eastern Body, Western Mind that desire is “the emotional impulse that inspires us to move to something greater and to embrace change. If we do not…