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Designed Futures
in a Non-linear World
Image from chefsteps.com
Andrew Lovett-Barron
@readywater
Before anything else:
Problem Statement
Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
Poisonous Urbanism
Image from http://www.shanethoms.com/
Food scarcity
Image from REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
Climate Change
Image from CBS news
Social Justice
Image from blacklivesmatter.com
4th Generational
Warfare
Image from HackCircus/Extinction Symbol
Inter- and intra-
national conflict
(with people caught between)
Image from Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
Observable outcomes
from infinitely complex
challenges that we
struggle to describe,
diagnose, and act upon.
A humble protagonist
enters the scene
Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
Designers
Point of Design #1:
Make sense of things
Point of Design #2:
Make a thing
Point of Design #3:
Critical analysis of
outcomes via things
Point of Design #4:
Iterate
We now have lots of
people who do this daily
But we’re getting
harder problems
Image from hbr.org
And we’re asked to
step into new roles
Image from hbr.org
We are in a better place than we
have ever been as designers;
We have never been in a
position of greater liability.
A
Whole
New
You
Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
And you may ask yourself
“Well...How did I get here?”
Image by Daniel Sieradski/culturebot.org.
We are in
over our heads
Image from The Fall by Tarsem Singh
Designers traditionally
make a thing to fulfill a
need or requirement
Image from Vladimir Vyatkin/AP
And we don’t take
responsibility for the
emergent result
Image from Sebastiano Tomada
We fetishize and lionize
the process of making
But what of the logistics
of design outcomes?
How might we shift
design outcomes
towards a
designed outcome?
Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
Let’s talk about
non linearity
Systems often sensitive
to initial conditions and
dynamic change
An input disproportional
to its output
Image from Mark P. Thomas
We tend to think
in linear ways
We problem solve
intuitively in a non-
linear world
Thoughtless Acts by Jane Fulton Suri
In analysis, we often
describe non-linear
effects in linear modes
Image by Thomas Homer-Dixon
And we communicate
those linear models
because it’s easier
But when linear analysis
leaves its boundary
conditions, it falls apart
Image from CNN
Too many of our analyses
have broken their
bounding condition
Image from the New Yorker (J. B. Mackinnon/April 21, 2015)
And we need to
change things now
Image from HackCircus/Extinction Symbol
Critical Design
and Responsibility
Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
A caveat:
Critical Design is not
the solution
Image by Alvaro León
It is a tool to
see the invisible
Faraday Chair
Dunne + Raby
Privacy, Attention, Space,
Community, Opting Out
Soft Suit
Michael-Owen Liston &
H. Lundberg & L.B. Borgersen
Violence, Resistance,
Embodiment, Justice
Image by Whitney Curtis/The New York Times
Clean Air Pod
Ant Farm
Climate, Aesthetics,
Policy, Authority
Image from Rueters/Liu Chang
Plugin City
Archigram (Peter Cook)
Urbanism, Waste,
Transience, Migration
Critical and Speculative
Design provide an early
frame around which to
deconstruct and iterate
on complex problems
Designed Futures
in a non-linear World
Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
We start by critiquing
our frame of reference
Image from Jorge Silva
San Francisco ≠ world
San Francisco ≠ future
Except where
it’s the worst
Image by Artem Shumnik
Empathy
through action
Our metaphors shape
our creations
Image from Nervous Systems
Make those
metaphors tangible
Image from Joe Linton
Does it penetrate the
meme-brain barrier?
We suck at foresight
In fact, we suck at
hindsight as well
Image from Buck Ennis
We must design the
boundary conditions,
and outcomes follow
Image from HackCircus/Extinction Symbol
We must design our
own metaphors
Image from Eye of Science/Science Source
This allows us to turn
the preferable future
into a set of actions
Image from Stuart Candy
It comes down to
figuring out what kind
of seed to plant
Image from Transition Network
What we use holds
the seed of tomorrow
Image from Paul Mackie
Build the amplifier to
human needs and
behaviours
Image from The Get Set
Help many small actions
create emergent change
Image from Unknown
We are responsible for the
future we are designing
towards.
Design is all about
responsibility:
making decisions for the
u...
We must create and use tools that
reveal our roles within systems,
that enable critical analysis of
systems, and that enco...
We will continue to
discovered how much
we didn’t know
yesterday.
It won’t stop us.
Thanks
alb@ideo.com
@readywater
Non-Linear design 07.2.2015@readywater
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SF Critical Design meetup: Designed Futures in a non-linear world

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Version 1 of a new talk I'm exploring around design and design practice. Keen on feedback as it starts to grow, and thank you for the help in advance!

I also mentioned another talk by Tobias Revell as an intro to Crit/Spec/etc design:
http://blog.tobiasrevell.com/2013/12/critical-design-design-fiction-lecture.html

Published in: Design
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SF Critical Design meetup: Designed Futures in a non-linear world

  1. 1. Designed Futures in a Non-linear World Image from chefsteps.com Andrew Lovett-Barron @readywater
  2. 2. Before anything else: Problem Statement Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
  3. 3. Poisonous Urbanism Image from http://www.shanethoms.com/
  4. 4. Food scarcity Image from REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
  5. 5. Climate Change Image from CBS news
  6. 6. Social Justice Image from blacklivesmatter.com
  7. 7. 4th Generational Warfare Image from HackCircus/Extinction Symbol
  8. 8. Inter- and intra- national conflict (with people caught between) Image from Alexander Zemlianichenko/AP
  9. 9. Observable outcomes from infinitely complex challenges that we struggle to describe, diagnose, and act upon.
  10. 10. A humble protagonist enters the scene Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
  11. 11. Designers
  12. 12. Point of Design #1: Make sense of things
  13. 13. Point of Design #2: Make a thing
  14. 14. Point of Design #3: Critical analysis of outcomes via things
  15. 15. Point of Design #4: Iterate
  16. 16. We now have lots of people who do this daily
  17. 17. But we’re getting harder problems Image from hbr.org
  18. 18. And we’re asked to step into new roles Image from hbr.org
  19. 19. We are in a better place than we have ever been as designers; We have never been in a position of greater liability.
  20. 20. A Whole New You Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
  21. 21. And you may ask yourself “Well...How did I get here?” Image by Daniel Sieradski/culturebot.org.
  22. 22. We are in over our heads Image from The Fall by Tarsem Singh
  23. 23. Designers traditionally make a thing to fulfill a need or requirement Image from Vladimir Vyatkin/AP
  24. 24. And we don’t take responsibility for the emergent result Image from Sebastiano Tomada
  25. 25. We fetishize and lionize the process of making
  26. 26. But what of the logistics of design outcomes?
  27. 27. How might we shift design outcomes towards a designed outcome?
  28. 28. Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater Let’s talk about non linearity
  29. 29. Systems often sensitive to initial conditions and dynamic change
  30. 30. An input disproportional to its output Image from Mark P. Thomas
  31. 31. We tend to think in linear ways
  32. 32. We problem solve intuitively in a non- linear world Thoughtless Acts by Jane Fulton Suri
  33. 33. In analysis, we often describe non-linear effects in linear modes Image by Thomas Homer-Dixon
  34. 34. And we communicate those linear models because it’s easier
  35. 35. But when linear analysis leaves its boundary conditions, it falls apart Image from CNN
  36. 36. Too many of our analyses have broken their bounding condition Image from the New Yorker (J. B. Mackinnon/April 21, 2015)
  37. 37. And we need to change things now Image from HackCircus/Extinction Symbol
  38. 38. Critical Design and Responsibility Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
  39. 39. A caveat: Critical Design is not the solution Image by Alvaro León
  40. 40. It is a tool to see the invisible
  41. 41. Faraday Chair Dunne + Raby
  42. 42. Privacy, Attention, Space, Community, Opting Out
  43. 43. Soft Suit Michael-Owen Liston & H. Lundberg & L.B. Borgersen
  44. 44. Violence, Resistance, Embodiment, Justice Image by Whitney Curtis/The New York Times
  45. 45. Clean Air Pod Ant Farm
  46. 46. Climate, Aesthetics, Policy, Authority Image from Rueters/Liu Chang
  47. 47. Plugin City Archigram (Peter Cook)
  48. 48. Urbanism, Waste, Transience, Migration
  49. 49. Critical and Speculative Design provide an early frame around which to deconstruct and iterate on complex problems
  50. 50. Designed Futures in a non-linear World Non-Linear design 07.10.2015@readywater
  51. 51. We start by critiquing our frame of reference Image from Jorge Silva
  52. 52. San Francisco ≠ world San Francisco ≠ future
  53. 53. Except where it’s the worst Image by Artem Shumnik
  54. 54. Empathy through action
  55. 55. Our metaphors shape our creations Image from Nervous Systems
  56. 56. Make those metaphors tangible Image from Joe Linton
  57. 57. Does it penetrate the meme-brain barrier?
  58. 58. We suck at foresight
  59. 59. In fact, we suck at hindsight as well Image from Buck Ennis
  60. 60. We must design the boundary conditions, and outcomes follow Image from HackCircus/Extinction Symbol
  61. 61. We must design our own metaphors Image from Eye of Science/Science Source
  62. 62. This allows us to turn the preferable future into a set of actions Image from Stuart Candy
  63. 63. It comes down to figuring out what kind of seed to plant Image from Transition Network
  64. 64. What we use holds the seed of tomorrow Image from Paul Mackie
  65. 65. Build the amplifier to human needs and behaviours Image from The Get Set
  66. 66. Help many small actions create emergent change Image from Unknown
  67. 67. We are responsible for the future we are designing towards. Design is all about responsibility: making decisions for the users and human collateral.
  68. 68. We must create and use tools that reveal our roles within systems, that enable critical analysis of systems, and that encourage radical action to enact systems change
  69. 69. We will continue to discovered how much we didn’t know yesterday. It won’t stop us.
  70. 70. Thanks alb@ideo.com @readywater Non-Linear design 07.2.2015@readywater

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