Category Archives: Design

Sustainable Design Thinking (SDT)

By | August 5, 2022

Practitioners and scholars have long been aware of the limitations of Design Thinking (DT) as has been adopted by private sector and non-profits for their own applications. At some point around 2008, the early batch of design thinking bloggers, particularly those exploring the interstitial spaces between business and design, went silent as the dominant narrative… Read More »

Reflections on my doctoral study: A midpoint review

By | March 31, 2022

Earlier this week, I submitted reports and work plans to the doctoral committee, a compulsory requirement – it is a Go/No Go stage where one’s progress on the journey to the PhD is evaluated from the perspective of viability and feasibility of my candidacy, as it stands now. If asked to prepare this work plan… Read More »

Revisiting Design Thinking: Pondering the process and principles

By | October 11, 2021

I have not written on design thinking in more than a decade. The era when I’d be cited in Fast Company or Rita Sue Siegel’s handbook on Industrial Design careers is long gone. Which one of these definitions should I use going forward? “Design thinking in business takes this problem solving aspect one step further… Read More »

A change of perspective and a whole new set of metaphors (Czarniawska, 2008)

By | August 26, 2021

“…each excursion into another field of knowledge brings with it things that were embedded in a different type of soil, and it is inevitable that particles of that soil are still clinging to the roots, practically invisible to the new owner. Additionally, a re-embedding into the new soil could produce deviations and hybrids that are… Read More »

Infrastructures of inclusion and informality: who drives the design of sociotechnical systems?

By | August 25, 2021

A recent Debate (Development and Change, Vol 52, No. 4) on the infrastructures of inclusion, informality and the social contract expands the notion of infrastructure beyond the tangible and the technological, to the systemic and economic, as well as societal structures and processes that are intended to facilitate inclusion. As Kate Meagher says in her… Read More »

Is it still design that we’re doing or is it simply using the designer’s toolkit?

By | August 18, 2021

It was sometime in the Spring of 2002 that I was looking for a metaphorical space that would accommodate me – an engineer, an MBA, with graduate product design education and the sensibilities and eye of a designer. I’d spent the year on a Heinz Foundation Fellowship after my MBA to train with Dr Chris… Read More »

Understanding Delegation

By | August 4, 2021

Less than 10 days ago, I was faced with an unusual problem, one of those which they say are good problems to have.  I found I’d reached the point in my process of development where I had to choose between the perspective held over from a past life along with the skills honed therein, where… Read More »

One year anniversary of experimenting with design and innovation tools for vegetable vendors in Nairobi’s slums

By | July 7, 2021

Felix Omondi, our lead innovation facilitator, reminds me today that its the one year anniversary of the first participatory design workshop held with mama mbogas in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s informal settlements. Categorized by us as the “tomato group” of B2C (business to consumer) vegetable vendors (mama mboga in colloquial swahili), these 8 ladies were… Read More »

Time to update the 5D’s framework for inclusive business design after 12 years

By | June 10, 2021

Two things have happened since I first published The 5D’s of BoP Marketing: Touchpoints for a holistic, human-centered strategy in Core77 back in January 2009. One, Core77 overhauled their site design and broke my article rather badly. Its layout and formatting makes it virtually incomprehensible. On the other hand, the 5Ds framework has apparently held… Read More »