Connecting dots
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Connecting dots

Connecting business, technology and peace

A conversation with Margarita Quihuis

The raw components for conflict, the fact that we are different from each other and we don’t agree, can be transformed into the raw material for innovation.

The topic of peace has traditionally been the domain of politicians and diplomats, not the domain of innovators and engineers. In the mid 2000s we were asked by BJ Fogg to investigate how mediating technologies might enhance peace in the world. The first thing we did was to redefine peace so it was amenable to engineering. Peace needed to be something that could be observable, repeatable and measurable — a series of behaviors.

You need to provide the financial and legal incentives to reduce friction, so that you can work together

You certainly see this in other domains. I’m fascinated by music as there’s so much innovation and repurposing of IP. Rap, with its sampling of other artists’ work, is a good example. You take an old base hook from some 70s song, you pull a track from David Bowie, you pull a lyric from Elton John and add overlay some new rap and you’re going to create something new out of it.

This is also around personal development and it is human interaction design in the true sense, designing human interactions.

You can have rituals in terms of how you can communicate in Slack, rituals in terms of how you get consensus. Working with my students over the last 18 months, especially when Black Lives Matter hit, everyone asked for a more diverse work culture, I said to them: “fantastic let’s design it: what do you want it to be, what does it look like to you, starting on Monday, what are we doing differently?”

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