Jan Chipchase gets asked critical questions and responds
During the Pop!Tech conference, well known design researcher Jan Chipchase gave a talk about his research work. In the panel session an audience member asked two questions relating to personal motivations of doing this kind of research and whether anyone has the moral right to extract knowledge from a community for corporate gain:
– What is it like working for BigCorps pillaging the intellect of people around the world for commercial gain?
– How do you sleep at night as the corporations you work for pump their worthless products into the world?
A very long essay, not exactly eloquent but friendly, justifying the need for design to make things to sell, including services and just good vibes. It would be more convincing if star designers weren’t paid salaries that put them in the top 10% of the population, thereby removing from them many of the burdens borne by less well-healed users of their designed things and also by society at large, most of which (by definition) does not live in that rarefied atmosphere. A question remains, how good is research that is conducted in an ideological framework that externalizes a whole lot of crap that people are forced to deal with but that designers working for large corporations are not or more to the point, not permitted to deal with. I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing I was a prisoner of that situation, but others are handier at rationalizing their captivity. Why not, it’s easier to be a songbird in a gilded cage than a sparrow with all the freedom in the world except that it always has to be on the lookout for scraps and predators, and no one listens to its chirping, not much.