You come from an exciting background – one which is somewhat unusual for a designer and strategist – can you tell us a bit about it?
A lot of experienced designers eventually start to get involved with the visual side of design – “pushing pixels” in Photoshop or Sketch. Have you experienced that side of design?
I’m primarily a researcher. Many years ago I used to do more work like that in interaction design, however, I quickly realized that I’m not an executional designer. I’ve always been very good with data and research methodologies though, so I’ve stuck with it and tried to uncover insights and customer needs.
I came across your work very recently – it was your Slideshare critique of human-centric design that got me interested in the work that you do.
What would a non-centristic approach in design look like?
Well, regarding alternatives – there are a few different approaches. The one that I mentioned was the idea of Incorporated System Thinking within design practice. System–thinking has become very trendy in the last couple of years. People seem to be interested in the topic and have begun to talk about it more. It’s only when you start to think about the different systems and levels of complexity that you can begin to understand what’s truly involved. First of all, yes a human actor is a critical component of a design system, but there are a lot of other elements there – such as environmental, social, cultural or political concerns which are frankly not often taken into account in HCD projects. The systemic design gets closest to it, but so far this hasn’t been adopted by the industry.
Why do you think it’s essential for a designer to think about systematic and sustainable solutions?
I think because it’s tough to relate everything from the process together. Even when we think we’ve got everything right, the real-life practice might turn out differently. Then maybe because it’s difficult to cultivate this kind of casual-relation mindset. And lastly, because it takes a lot of time.
In your latest book – Persistent Fools: Cunning Intelligence and the Politics of Design – you introduced the idea of designers being tricksters.How would you outline this concept?
Designers are those constantly thinking against the established norms.
Do you know of any real-life cases where designers have used the strategies or ideas that you discussed in the books you wrote?
What do you think about the impact of social media platforms and the bubbles they are creating? Personally, I feel like we can’t think critically if we’re only trapped inside a biased bubble, based on our likes.
I’ve seen you mention on your twitter that “Design=Politics”, could you explain what that means to you?
My last question – What advice would you give to creatives that want to create a better, more sustainable future?
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