10 March 2006

Design for social justice

Be the first to share

Core77 just published a highly recommendable thought piece by the Design Council’s Jenny Winhall on the power we have as designers in shaping the society in which we live.

It is a strong and well-crafted article that describes many of the reasons why I (and my partners, I may say) am involved in user experience design and are so enthusiastic about it.

Jennie Winhall, who is a senior design strategist for RED, the social and economic ‘do tank’ within the UK Design Council, claims that when one seriously starts reflecting on the many ways that design governs us, we realise, that design and therefore leadership are value-based. Designers and leaders shape preferences.

Politically speaking, design can exclude or include all manner of people in all manner of ways throughout society. Design is political because it has consequences, and sometimes serious ones.

The power of designers is that we can design things to have different consequences. The crucial and political question for designers becomes "how can we use design for social justice?".

Nowadays the world of design is changing. Design used to be done by specialists for users. From now on, in a growing number of fields, design will be done with users and by them. In this context, the designer is becoming the facilitator–the enabler–rather than the dictator of what people themselves want to do.

At the same time there has been a shift in conventional politics; a realisation that top-down policies no longer work, and that public services in particular must be redesigned around the user. Conventional policy makers are not readily equipped to do this. Designers are.

Winhall then highlights the values of user-centred design, which she describes as a "political standpoint in itself" and she goes on to say that "participatory design work, if done well, can be fundamentally democratic, giving ordinary people a voice and an opportunity to influence outcomes."

At the Design Council they call this approach transformation design. It is the design that facilitates collaboration between designers, policymakers, economists,  social scientists and ordinary people in order to solve complex socio-economic problems.

Read full article

Be the first to share
15 November 2017
[Book] Designing Better Services: A Strategic Approach from Design to Evaluation
Designing Better Services: A Strategic Approach from Design to Evaluation by Francesca Foglieni, Beatrice Villari and Stefano Maffei (Polytechnic University of Milan) Springer International Publishing, 2018 VIII, 115 pages This book provides accessible, comprehensive guidance on service design and …
12 November 2017
Six hacks for service designers working in an agile environment
Ideally service designers deliver our best value when we stay outside the “Scrum” (literally and figuratively), fulfilling our strategic role and avoiding the hectic pace and too-narrow focus of two-week sprints. Our work, …
8 November 2017
From human-centered design to humanity-centered design
The design industry’s reigning paradigm is in crisis. It’s time to evolve from human-centered design to humanity-centered design, write Artefact’s Rob Girling and Emilia Palaveeva. If followed blindly and left unchecked, this cult of designing …
8 November 2017
Service design at BBVA bank
BBVA (an international financial institution with a presence in 35 countries, providing services to 70 million customers) was one of the sponsors of the Service Design Global Conference in Madrid last week. Derek White, BBVA’s …
31 October 2017
Waymo focuses on user experience
Waymo —formerly the Google self-driving car project— is investing a lot of time and effort on building out the user experience of its self-driving vehicles, which includes both the external and internal user-facing features of …
27 October 2017
Self-driving cars and humans must learn a common language
For all the intricate technology required for autonomous cars — the sensors to replicate eyes and ears, the computers and algorithms to serve as the car’s brains, the high-definition 3-D maps to guide them — …
22 October 2017
Nudges that fail
Nudges that fail Cass R. Sunstein Behavioural Public Policy, 2017, 1(1), 4-25. doi:10.1017/bpp.2016.3 Why are some nudges ineffective, or at least less effective than choice architects hope and expect? Focusing primarily on default rules, this essay emphasizes two …
18 October 2017
Innovate through service design – The Innovation Center of Intesa Sanpaolo and Experientia for “Torino Design of the City”
by Erin O'Loughlin - Photos: Naz Kazazoglu In Turin, you only need to tell your taxi driver "Take me to the skyscraper" to end up at the impressive Innovation Center of the Intesa Sanpaolo bank, rising …

We are an international experience design consultancy helping companies and organisations to innovate their products, services and processes by putting people and their experiences first.

20 November 2017
Experientia and Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo announce innovative partnership

Wide ranging partnership also covers collaboration with design schools and public events on service design “Finding the way forward for independent design means building new business models for service design consultancies in the age of the company buy-out.” Michele Visciola, President, Experientia PRESS RELEASE It seems the business world is finally realising that service and […]

26 October 2017
Epic storytelling with video

Another EPIC conference come and gone, and no, we’re not using “epic” in the way under-10s use it about cool things on the internet. EPIC is the Ethnographic Praxis in Industry Conference, one of the most important annual events for practitioners of anthropology, ethnography and related disciplines. Ethnography is one of Experientia’s key methodologies, underpinning […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Service design intern

Service Design Intern: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy Experientia, an international experience design consultancy, is looking for service design interns for our Turin, Italy office, to support research, concept development and design. The ideal candidate will be a holistic thinker and designer, with a systems approach to enable complex service offerings, driven by an understanding […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Senior Service Designer

Senior Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) We are looking for service designers with outstanding design skills, methodical thinking, and experience in designing complex service ecosystems using a human-centered design methodology.   Required 2-5 years’ experience in service design and/or user experience design University and/or advanced degree(s) in Service Design, Interaction Design, User […]

23 October 2017
Experientia is hiring! Lead Service Designer

Lead Service Designer: Lausanne, Switzerland and Turin, Italy (*) Experientia is seeking a Senior Service Designer to lead service design projects from the Turin, Italy office (*) or the Lausanne, Switzerland office. The Senior Service Designer will have experience leading a team of behavioral analysts and service modelers in research and service design projects lasting […]

18 October 2017
Innovate through service design – The Innovation Center of Intesa Sanpaolo and Experientia for “Torino Design of the City”

by Erin O’Loughlin – Photos: Naz Kazazoglu In Turin, you only need to tell your taxi driver “Take me to the skyscraper” to end up at the impressive Innovation Center of the Intesa Sanpaolo bank, rising in the heart of Turin, with a fine view of the Turin hills and the Italian alps. Here on […]

See all articles