We must intentionally think about the culture a design will spin up and spin into society.
The Evolution of Design with Culture Thinking
Damian Madray

Yes, another key point Damian, and maybe the main idea in your excellent post on circular (closed-loop) approaches of design and culture thinking. I think we’re mostly talking tech design here, so let me try to restate it in my own words, in that more specific context:

A tech designer, as a culture-influencing creative, is also a social engineer, which brings responsibility that is broader than the quality/function of the design itself.
Examples: How do we connect, then stay connected? How can we prioritize and allocate our time aligned with needs of others? How do we balance privacy with opportunity?

Great ideas in concept with broader implications. Tough problems. But I’m still not sure how actionable the social responsibility part is. Can the typical tech designer make an impact at on the broader social stage? What would need to change?

A couple things come to mind:

  • a strong knowledge of culture, both shaping and shaped by stakeholders
  • a realization among the design community of it’s greater stake, role and responsibility
  • a tangible acceptance of design consumers that social change is slow, incremental and emergent, but subject to their influence (i.e., they can make a difference)
  • some way for the messaging and actions to scale
  • a new language for discussing social change

Like you, I’ve spent some time reflecting on the broader possibilities. No small tasks here. One thing for certain. Conversations about what’s possible — including the why, and the how — are among the first steps.

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