Designing at the margin means that those in privileged positions do not solve for those experiencing oppression; rather, in true community, both the privileged and marginalized build collective responsibility and innovative solutions for our most intractable problems. Even the use of the word marginalized linguistically parallels the exclusion of individuals. The definition of a group simply by their relationship to the dominant culture is a problem that continues to persist.
Our current charge is to solve problems where there is no one solution, where more data and information doesn’t necessarily make things more clear, where the problem is hard to even define. For instance, we know that solving issues of terrorism is less about building better weapons and more about interrupting radical group recruitment strategies. We know that issues of environmental degradation are no longer about technologies for clean energy; they are about incentivizing corporate and consumer behavior changes. We know how the brain learns, but we can’t figure out how to create school environments that are socioeconomically and racially integrated.