How Design Makes The World
May 14, 2020
Today, I‘d like to recommend a design book to you—even (especially!) if you don’t identify as a “designer.”
The book is “How Design Makes The World” by Scott Berkun. And it has a cool trailer.
It will give you a new, human-centered lens to look at the world around us, including your own work and daily life. Everything we make and do impacts somebody else, and the book gives you many design-inspired frames to question, critique and improve your own and other people’s decisions.
Design has always co-existed with other disciplines and been informed by real-world constraints and tradeoffs. The book does talk a bit about software and the digital world, but only marginally. It shows us how design as an intentional activity has been part of the human domain since forever, talking a lot about physical products and spaces.
These days, I work in the niche domain of Anti-Money Laundering and the fun world of financial institutions. The part in the book that touches my work directly is the bit about constraints and tradeoffs. I deal with a different frame and reference system compared to, say, consumer mobile apps. There are many regulations, stakeholders, institutions, decision-making structures and, ultimately, roles and people involved. But ultimately, the design checklist still applies:
- What am I trying to improve?
- Who am I trying to improve it for?
- How do I ensure I am successful?
- Who might be hurt by my work, now or in the future?
The book is a light, entertaining read. There are many sources, but not so much academics and “science”. It’s mostly real-world stories and history with some light analysis.