Penelope Rance

My UX research & design ramblings

Designing for People and the Planet

Recently I have been thinking more and more about how I can use my skills as a researcher to help the planet and everyone living on it. I see so many jobs come up for products and services which just add to the consumerism, which isn’t really going to help keep the planet a nice place to live.

But it is also a massive area and hard to work out where to start - do I need more training on this subject? Are their any good books I can read? And can I do all this without getting too overwhelmed or disheartened?

So when I saw the next Service Lab London event advertised I just had to attend. The subject was 'Designing for People and the Planet', and while I am no longer a designer, where there are designers there really should be researchers!

The online event was really interesting with three speakers focused on slightly different areas where we can make a difference.

Lara Salinas from University of the Arts London kicked us off talking about working with government departments to help them make better policy decisions. Here they had to teach them to look at problems in different ways and work with many different groups to get all the information needed for better solutions.

Everyone was particularly impressed with the map they created of action points and departments and showing how the silos need to be broken.

Next up was Joshua Stehr, a freelance service and product designer. He is still very much on a journey on this subject, but he shared a lot of what he has learnt so far, which I found really useful as it has given me some pointers as to where to find out more.

I particularly like the matrix he made himself to check companies before he decides to work with them based on his values.

Lastly Lilli Graf, founder of IMMA Collective, talked about resilience and antifragility.

It was so interesting to hear her explain the difference between mitigation and adaptation and how we need both to get through the next few years.

Lilli finished by reminding us that there is hope and we must not fall into full blown doom.

It was a really interesting hour which covered a lot of bases and gave me somewhere to start with my own thinking. Thanks to all the speakers and Service Lab team for setting it up.

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