What We Are Reading

social justice design thinking process

“From the Technical to the Political: Democratizing Design Thinking”

What it is:

The article suggests a new curriculum of design thinking and social justice. It asks designers to consider identity and power in the application of design thinking. The curriculum seeks to achieve social justice through design thinking by blending participatory design with tools and methods used to help “build political awareness and partnership”. In addition, the article includes an illuminating history of design thinking – all the way back to Herbert Simon addressing design as a particular way of thinking in 1969.

Why it is important:

This piece focuses less on existence proofs of what *does* work (the core of The Guide) and more on the ways things “should” work. The authors criticize “mainstream design thinking methodologies” as “myopic” because of purported “focus on technological innovation and failure to address political power dynamics” resulting in perceived failures to be “inclusive.”   It also calls out “requirements for business success” as “conflicts of interest that complicate the use of DT for social progress.”  – RU and JG.