I discovered NCommon a Self-awareness for Design podcast. It is so up my alley. The podcasters Jacqui Frey and Alison Rand were tired of the same talks from the same people about Design. One episode that got me thinking was their last episode of the season titled “Hella Justice”. In the episode, Jacqui and Alison reflect on the times with Quinnton Harris, one of the founders of Hella Creative – the team behind the Hella Juneteenth movement. They talk about his incredible journey, the importance of Juneteenth not just as a day, or a moment, but as a call for organizational change. How we can continue to grow, listen, learn, do much better, and make the hire.
In the episode, at the 21-minute mark, they start talking about what does it mean to have a humanistic practice in experience design? This leads to one of the hosts saying that they think “Design Thinking is canceled”. This got my ears perked up because, like most designers, this is the methodology we were all taught. But when this comes from a group of minority designers, there is some merit that needs to be explored.
Because design thinking came from a colonial white male perspective, how do you truly develop an empathetic process from such a vantage point? It reinforces a system that needs to be dismantled when representation is not in the room. People need to deeply identify with the problem or have a personal context for the problem or else you won’t be able to solve it in a meaningful way. This is where EDI comes into play because there is still a huge disconnection between who is in the room trying to solve the problem and what is the problem they are trying to solve. Representation matters because it is those with diverse backgrounds that will be catalysts for change. You need diverse experiences and it’s the intersectionality of those experiences that will slowly create systemic change.
As a first-generation Canadian, educated in a western perspective with a background that stems from the east, my story is rooted in immigration. My home life is completely different from my work life. I know it’s the richness of this perspective that allows me to challenge, bring new ideas to the table and work collaboratively across teams and industries. I can relate. I get it. And most importantly, my vantage point allows me to flex whatever privilege I have to make incremental change.
So with all this said, is there a new term that we need to create that is more inclusive that doesn’t carry the colonial weight of “Design Thinking”? Maybe “Diverse Thinking”? And is there a Canadian perspective that we can add that makes “Diverse Thinking” unique to our culture that we can own, educate and evolve for the next generation of designers?
Listen to the whole podcast here: https://www.ncommon.design/episodes/hella-justice