Tag Archives: design

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 »

Bringing to bear a legacy of perspective on the transformations of contemporary design practice

By | July 19, 2021

Thanks to Tricia Wang’s recent article in Fast Company magazine on the unhealthy legacy of a strategy tool from ‘design thinking’, I read her links to Jesse James Garrett’s reflections on the developments in the practice of UX and Maggie Gram’s tracing the history of design thinking and the increasing capacity of design to its… 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 »

Seismic Shock: Approaching the old practice of design from the new perspective of today

By | June 26, 2021

The wrenching shift in my perspective from the outcomes of a project to its process – forced by circumstances of scholarship less than three weeks ago – has kept me preoccupied with reams of paper. I can sense the difference in slowly reading through printed out versions of selected journal articles, annotating their margins and… Read More »

Exploratory User Research to Inform and Inspire Innovation Frontiers: Nokia’s legacy

By | May 24, 2021

Swedberg (2020) offers a glimpse of the legacy of an exploratory approach to research. The reasons for using such an approach, based on his analysis, are: The empirical situation makes it necessary to use an exploratory approach. Swedberg (2020) gives the example of a study conducted in 1937 by Lazarsfeld & Stouffer on the effects… Read More »

Disrupting the Default: Must it fall under “development” if the geography is Africa?

By | April 11, 2021

Where does it say that if the geography of the study or innovation or project is in Africa then it must be ‘development’? Is it Tuesday, that it must be Belgium? Will the ‘tyranny of dominant logic’ continue to hold us in thrall regardless of all the massive changes overtaking our world today; including the… Read More »

Reflections on Digitalization’s Impact on the Creative Process

By | March 29, 2021

My previous post seems to have triggered deeper reflections and responses than expected from a rapidly written rant on the loss of vocabulary. Are the gaps in my memory simply the signs of growing older, which indeed I must have done in the 16 years since I began this blog, or are the recent blank… Read More »