The problem is our choice to only center certain humans

Photo via Halacious on Unsplash

“I’ve recently begun to seriously doubt how much I can congratulate myself for the seeming progressiveness of this pursuit,” writes Euan Fraser, Innovation Principal, Senior Brand Strategist at REI.

“It doesn’t scale,” Jesse Weaver, Director of Entrepreneurial Design at CMCI Studio points out.

“It’s fundamentally conservative and preserves the status quo,” adds Natasha Iskander, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Public Service at NYU.

What they’re referring to isn’t a right-wing policy framework. It’s human centered design.

IDEO describes Human Centered Design as, “a process that starts with the people…


Two years into my family’s immigration process, I’ve learned that most digital services are built to exclude non-citizens.

Photo from Startaê Team, via Unsplash

It’s February. Your son is six weeks old. You’ve been in the midst of a legal immigration process for three months already, and you can almost feel that work visa in your hot hands. That’s when you find out your father is sick — and potentially dying this week.

Your father is across the US border.

“Go,” your lawyer says. “This part of the paperwork never takes more than two weeks.” To be safe, you submit a $1200 rush fee on top of your already existing fees — and you catch a flight.

Six months later, you’re still waiting. It’s…


It’s a smart time to be a flamingo.

Turn the extra room in your home into a hotel to pay your rent. Use your car as a side gig. Get to know millions of people you’ve never met — all on a single platform.

The digital age has been a golden era of disruption.

Here’s what we didn’t anticipate: societal disruption so massive it surprised even the disruptors themselves.

In 2020, we’ve learned what happens when the world outside becomes so prominently disrupted that we must return to home as haven, instead of income generator. We saw a platform meant to wholly democratize friendship disrupt the process of…


Electromagnetic, Osheen Harruthoonyan

Henry Petroski opens his postmortem of the 1986 Columbia space shuttle disaster with a quote from aerospace pioneer Theodore von Kármán. Scientists, Kármán famously writes, discover the world that exists. Engineers create the world that never was.

Now a civil engineer on the faculty at Duke University, Petroski alleges the sudden shuttle disaster wasn’t sudden at all. It began long before the launch, with the incongruence of three disparate subcultures.

To scientists, the space shuttle was a vehicle to expand human knowledge of the universe. To engineers, it was their creation. …


To my Middle Eastern-American son,

You started kicking, just four weeks ago. I felt it first like the desperate flutters of nerves before speaking before a crowd.

A week later, I delighted your Dad when I said I couldn’t find a description for what I was feeling inside except to say that I thought you might be blowing bubbles (he googled it. He said you were, in fact, blowing bubbles. He also said it meant you’d speak sooner than other children). …


Evangelicalism tore my family apart; death brought us back together

Photo courtesy of author.

If I could trace the years of my childhood in the warm, Sacramento sun back to a single name, it would be R.J. Rushdoony — the father of Christian Reconstructionism, and, by many people’s definition, the strongest inspiration for the modern Christian homeschool movement.

In 1963, Rushdoony launched his ideas about the American educational system with a book titled, The Messianic Character of American Education. In 1965, he started the Chalcedon Foundation, an organization that would, eventually, go as far as to say that home education is the only model for education given in the Bible. In 1973, he wrote…

Shanley Harruthoonyan

I write about my process transforming complex cultural, social and sustainability challenges into more impactful strategy and design.

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