Dialogues at the Intersections of Power

Peter Jones Dialogue, Sensemaking

Design with Dialogue held an inquiry into the systems of power we face in modern civilization, and the structures and forms it takes. Pre-reads included Off-Guardian’s “Left and Lockdown“, Charles Eisenstein’s The Coronation, or something (anything) from Matt Taibbi’s recent substacks. We proposed a few discovery questions to shape the inquiry: In a complex society with heterogeneous forms of power, are we each subject to different structures and forms of power we experience?Or is there a sense in which we are all subject to the same powers, whether we accept them or not? How do you hold agency? Do our unique histories and commitments determine the boundaries of our personal power to alter policies, events, outcomes, and eventually our society? What structures are now available, or foreclosed, for acting on a commitment to collective power, e.g. democratic power of a people? How might we better shape our societies while sustaining collective wellbeing, privileging individual freedom, and guaranteeing self-expression? What have we learned from organized activism – have any of us achieved the desired outcome of our appeals? Where is it …

Rethinking Design / Systems / Thinking

Peter Jones Design Management, Sensemaking, Systemic Design

The design community is once again rethinking all the thinkings. It’s about time, as we’ve been through more than a decade after the last global crash and we are now at the start of the next, much longer crash, or the Long Crisis of the Anthropocene. This crash will be political, cultural and financial (unlike the 2008 Minsky Moment (credit implosion) based on the corrupt underpinnings of mortgage-backed securities). Will the design community and design education be prepared this time? Or will we be arguing about ideology and single-cause design activism? Perhaps the compelling ideas of the prior decade are fuzzy by now, but we were busy bringing new design-led interdisciplines into schools and defying the complaints of those that insisted “design education must change.” It was changing – and now we’ve seen several hundred graduates from the OCAD University Strategic Foresight & Innovation MDes. We saw the rise and fall of Transformation Design that attended the hopeful resurgence of new design thinking. At the time, by 2010 at the latest, we were already arguing Design Thinking (the corporate training …

Wisdom of Caring and Empathic Practice

Peter Jones Design for Care, Sensemaking, Strategic Foresight

For over 10 years (at least since the 1997 Dorothy Leonard article Sparking Innovation through Empathic Design) design research has advocated the practice of empathic design, listening closely to customers and learning from their behaviors to innovate for unspoken “needs.”  We might consider this common knowledge at this cycle of practice, or even “common wisdom.” The U of Chicago Wisdom Research project discussed recent research in medical education indicating that medical students significantly lose empathy starting in 3rd year: “Are our medical students failing “Wisdom 101”? The interpretation suggests the possibility that the education process somehow drives out naturally occurring empathy in young physician trainees. The consideration is also drawn that empathy itself – perhaps defined in a range of nuanced ways – is inherent in wisdom. Yes and no … and maybe. My response to the article (edited for context). This is reflective of medical school itself. There are different purposes for the phases of medical education. Third year is the first full clinical clerkship year. This is the year students follow each specialty into their rotations and observe …

Designing a Future for our Future

Peter Jones Human Values, Sensemaking, Strategic Foresight

You know the Singularity is coming. Get ready for The Multiplicity. The workshop entices participants to co-create a future in collaboration as an act of personal foresight. We take on the creation of possible personal scenarios that confront the future opportunities for humanity, positioning our inherent multiplicities as creative narratives to counter the technologically-determined future being called the “singularity.” When we think of the future, we tend to push a vague collection of dreams, possibilities and wishes out to a speculative point in the years following the nearest term. We can guess about the world in two years, we can create plans for 5 years, but 10 and 20 years challenge our personal vision. As a Design with Dialogue session, we will engage in inquiry (Big Questions), exploration (co-creation with small groups into your questions), and co-producing (harvesting and learning together). People co-exploring make this a fun and personally enriching experience, never again to be repeated in the same way. The workshop is sponsored by The Design Exchange and is convened by Peter Jones and OCAD University guests as part …