20 December 2005

John Thackara lecture on solidarity economics & design: life after consumerism

Be the first to share

Last week John Thackara, director of Doors of Perception and author of In the bubble: designing in a complex world, lectured at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) on Solidarity economics and design: life after consumerism.

The word ‘development’ implies that we advanced people in the North have the right or even obligation to help backward people in the South to ‘catch up’ with our own advanced condition. No, it doesn’t make sense. The concept of development is further devalued by the impoverished but destructive mindset of economics. The North’s purse strings are clutched by people who define development narrowly in terms of growth, jobs and productivity – and ignore broader measures of sustainability and well-being.

A renewed sensitivity to context, and to social relationships, is a key aspect of the transition from mindless development to design mindfulness. But even this new approach can be a mixed blessing. One b-school professor now talks about “harvesting lifestyles”. By what right do we swan around distant cities capturing information about people’s lives?

If we are to exchange value – rather than just take it, or act like cultural tourists – what do we have to offer? One contribution is that fresh eyes can reveal hidden value and thus mobilise otherwise neglected or hidden local resources. Visiting designers can act like mirrors, reflecting things about a situation that local people no longer notice or value. Shamefully, too many visiting designers promise
local people they will do this, but never get around to sharing their conclusions and documentation.

Click here to download the first half of the lecture (25 mb)

Click here to download the second half of the lecture (24 mb)

Click here to download the question and answer session after the lecture (40 mb)

Click here to download an edited version of the lecture as a podcast (29 mb)

Be the first to share
18 October 2016
Behavioral economics, UX design and insurance
The key to unlocking the insurance industry, writes Richie Hecker in TechCrunch, is understanding behavioral economics. The most successful players in insurance tech, he says, will win by rounding the edges on existing products. "Don’t …
18 October 2016
Flaws of the Smart City – A design friction kit
Flaws of the Smart City is a critical, workshop-tailored kit to explore the dark faces of the so-called Smart Cities. As any hardware or software piece, the connected cities embed flaws. This kit aims to …
2 October 2016
IFTF uncovers seven new worker archetypes of the on-demand economy
Update: Read also this Fortune Magazine review of the study (as reported by BoingBoing). Institute for the Future, the Caiifornia-based independent, nonprofit strategic research group, releases a new report aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of …
30 September 2016
The Adaptive Reuse Toolkit
The Adaptive Reuse Toolkit - How Cities Can Turn their Industrial Legacy 
into Infrastructure for Innovation and Growth by Matteo Robiglio Policy Paper, September 2016 The German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF) All over in the world, …
27 September 2016
Health as a social movement
Last week, the UK innovation charity Nesta launched a new report, Health as a Social Movement: The Power of People in Movements. It illuminates the value and role of health social movements and aims to …
18 September 2016
Bruce Sterling and Jasmina Tesanovic on the home of the future
Jasmina Tesanovic (previously) and Bruce Sterling did a residency at The Arthur C. Clarke Center for Human Imagination at UCSD (San Diego, USA), working with the students on design fiction and futurism. The residency …
3 September 2016
[Paper] Design for behaviour change as a driver for sustainable innovation
Design for Behaviour Change as a Driver for Sustainable Innovation: Challenges and Opportunities for Implementation in the Private and Public Sectors Niedderer, K., Ludden, G., Clune, S. J., Lockton, D., Mackrill, J., Morris, A., Cain, R., …
30 August 2016
Intel’s Todd Harple proposes new toolkit for fashion designers
Fashion designers must integrate software, sensors, processors and new synthetic and biological materials into their toolkit, argues Intel anthropologist Todd Harple. "A fourth industrial revolution is set to change fashion, resulting in a new materiality of …

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.

5 September 2016
Great engine, but the fuel seems poor. Discussing insight development in corporate marketing

The September issue of the Harvard Business Review (HBR) contains a lengthy essay, entitled Building an Insights Engine, on how Unilever has created the organizational capabilities to “transform data into insights about consumers’ motivations and to turn those insights into strategy.” The article was written by Frank van den Driest and Keith Weed of a […]

29 August 2016
Experientia discussing ethnography and patient-centricity at EPIC 2016

This week Experientia joins our colleagues and peers in Minneapolis at EPIC 2016, the premier international gathering on ethnography and design in industry. The theme for the conference this year is Pathmaking, emphasizing the power of ethnography to create transformative innovation, growth and strategic success for companies, industries and communities. On the second day of […]

22 June 2016
A united energy economy: Experientia helps wrap up the CITYOPT Nice pilot project

Can behavioral change address local energy issues, raise people’s awareness energy consumption issues, and directly support non-profit organizations at the same time? With the Nice pilot of the CITYOPT project, we have seen strong suggestions that it can. It also suggests that the sense of belonging to a local community is a strong motivation for […]

23 May 2016
Experientia white paper: “Conducting clinical trials is about working with patients”

Patient-centricity is one of the defining issues facing clinical trials in the pharma industry. The past few years have seen a growing awareness by pharmaceutical companies of the importance of patient-centricity – but they have also illustrated that not everyone is clear on just what patient-centricity is, or how to achieve it. After using UX […]

12 April 2016
The latest on innovation in Energy Efficient Buildings: annual round-up of EU Commission projects

Every year, the Energy-efficient Buildings (EeB) Public Private Partnership (PPP) publishes the EeB PPP project review – a round-up of energy-efficiency projects that have been co-funded by two European Commission schemes. This year, the print and digital booklet design was done by Experientia, in particular by our talented visual and interaction designer Dohun Jang. Experientia […]

8 March 2016
Behavioral modeling – Shaping cultural change and behavioral evolution

One of the things we do here at Experientia that really sets us apart from other UX agencies is behavioral modeling. Our cognitive and behavioral models go beyond the standard customer journeys and personas (both useful tools, and often preliminary steps to behavioral modeling) to create frameworks that can be used to make people more […]

See all articles