(What can we change with) The Care Design Network?

Peter JonesDesign for Care, Design for Practice

Design for Care was written with the help and advice from a book development community (on the Ning platform). Recently converted to a practitioner hub, the Care Design Network offers a full-featured online community for continuing with the journey of design engagement. The previous URL designforcare.com now points to the Rosenfeld Media site for the book.

But wait, don’t buy the book on Amazon!  The publisher site offers a better deal, providing the print book plus digital versions for PDF, ePub & Mobi.

The community hosts about 500 people now, from around the world, but primarily North America. The intention is to enable design practitioners, researchers, consultants, and healthcare professionals to find each other’s good work, learn from one other, and post events and opportunities for projects or conference teams.

I will be giving ongoing talks and workshops related to the book, and with the book writing done, I will have more time for innovation and research projects. I’ll post excerpts from the book, relate them to current news and events, and share images for your further enhancement or hacks.

The Evolution of Online Communities

While Ning provides good support features, maintaining engagement is not a simple task. A few years ago, many of us believed the future of online engagement was going toward well-defined project community sites such as this. A purposeful community with shared interested would be more likely to hold deep discussions, exchange ideas and papers, and find like-minded people. What I’ve observed instead is a kind of community exhaustion that occurs after initial spike of participation.

Some of this may be generalized to internet habit, and some specific to the Design for Care participants (who may have moved on after initial contributions). While Facebook and Twitter have perhaps established a hegemony of sociality (systemically reinforced habits), I have noticed that very few professionals I collaborate with are on Facebook at all (like me). Few are on Twitter as well, that font of self-promotion. So I expected more follow-on engagement on caredesignnetwork.com than I’ve seen so far.

I have created, moderated and participated in numerous online communities of practice, preferring the dedicated social network immensely to the general purpose consumer-based personal data tracking networks like FB. It may take a third-party wrapper to glue all these networks together, but in the meantime it seems North Americans are not concerned enough yet by PRISM and advertising trackers to leave Facebook and communicate within smaller networks. But the other