In September 2015, I presented at the Seattle Design Festival with a session titled “On Being The Change: Social Impacts of Human-Centered Design.” (Above is a complete screencast.)
I began research on these topics long before the Festival, at my previous architecture firm. There, I won an internal research grant to explore this topic as it applied to our organization — I examined ways in which we could innovate our social responsibility initiatives and galvanize our efforts in these realms. I took the themes and concepts that resonated most with me from that research to further develop here.
Early in the process, the Design Festival organizers encouraged all of the presenters to practice “Nothing about us without us.” In other words, if we are going to talk about a certain demographic or population, we must have included that demographic in our process and in our presentation. At that moment, I realized I had done too much secondary research and not enough primary research. As I began to do more listening and less reading, I let go of many preconceived notions and assumptions I’d inadvertently made. All that is to say — this presentation isn’t a packaging of knowledge I’d already held, but rather a reflection of a process I have not yet finished.
I look forward to the next steps.