Posted by: bbannan | May 3, 2009

Design Mindfulness…Minding the Business of Society Not the Indivdual – Cammise

Design Mindfulness…Minding the Business of Society Not the Indivdual

John Thackara’s In the Bubble: Designing in a Complex World challenges designers to think of design in terms of the desired goals and the value that it adds to our lives. (1) In order to be mindful, the author states that we, as designers, must:

Think about consequences and the context in which they are used.

Consider material and energy flow.

Give priority to human agency.

Deliver value to people-not deliver people to systems.

Treat content as something we do, not as something we are sold.

Treat place, time, and cultural difference as positive values, not obstacles.

Focus on services, not on things, and refrain from flooding the world with pointless devices.

These notions challenged me as an instructional designer. Often times, it seems as if fellow designers and I, spend countless hours thinking about what is “cool,” instead of what is truly valuable, feasible, and functional for the clients we serve and the world in which we live. Think about the implications of “throwaway technology” and the relationship to the sense of entitlement and wastefulness; the ideas related to the wedge that technology forces between human interaction; and how technology can perpetuate oppression as evidenced by the digital divide. With all this, as designers and world citizens, we cannot neglect opportunities to predetermine the effects of our design.

Two quotes shape this idea:

“We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” Is designing a lifestyle or merely a means of income? If it is a lifestyle, which I presume it is, then we are forced to “give” as designers, thus our work must be seen as a service, not as a product.


“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Thackara writes, “Man made smartness tends to be overly complicated.” As designers, we have to remember that the best designs are often those that are effortless and plain to the user. Determining when to stop and forcing ourselves to do what is useful in the world’s context is important if we see ourselves as designers who fuel societal progress.

As designers it is important to keep Design Mindfulness in the forefront of our occupation.



  1. Cammise – I found this to be a very interesting posting. What struck me the most was the quote “our work must be seen as a service, not as a product.” I think that is so true and one of the reasons I chose this field. I like helping others and I feel that instructional design/training is way to help others achieve their goals. Thank you for sharing! Rachel

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: