“design for good” — useful approach or lip service?

I recently saw this article, “It’s not you, it’s the systemand wanted to share some of my thoughts about it as someone who works in the intersection of social justice/design/tech.

For me, it’s definitely very relevant and on point through most of the article though the end of it was weak in its suggestions. I believe that opening doors to resources is a big step but that’s still not addressing the systemic issues. What are the sequential steps to address big system changes like the ones they mentioned? Like the author, I am tired of seeing faces on social enterprise team pages that don’t reflect diversity or the population they are serving — whether that is domestic or international. Not to say that needs to be a precursor but the pattern is frustrating. I like her point about “empathy interviews” don’t equivocate to being from that community or make any one of us an expert.

I believe in self-determination but I also understand that lots of communities did not have the resources or privileges that we had in education, network, or financial support to have the skills and experience that we do. I do believe that design thinking/user research/prototyping/etc are great tools and super fun for any one involved but they are just tools and a mindset to use to build sequential steps to attacking system inequities, not the end but just part of the journey. I’m not sure if the author is suggesting that folks who are currently in this “design for social good” space believe that design is the end game or not. I certainly don’t. It’s a stepping stone.

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