I believe a designer is the public watchdog that always sets the evolvement of the society at the very top. I envision designers to be responsible to introduce society to new forms of technological development that will have effect on more people than just the buyer or user of the invention. Self Driving autonomous cars are a profound example of this kind of innovation since these machines operate within public places. Forming an opinion about innovations that will change the world is not complicated and can be done by everyone as long as there are means to react upon. It is the task of the designer to design and present these means to spark the -in my opinion- needed dialogue between designers and the public. However, starting this conversation is not as easy as it may sound. The society does not know where and how they should share their opinion, even once their reaction is provoked. Furthermore, designers tend to only present fully developed visions and prototypes instead of ideas in the early stage of a design process. In addition, the environment in which the presentation of the design is currently taken place, is not embracing the dialogue but creates a certain distance.
This stimulates me to start the movement Design Through Public. With the help of this movement,
I encourage all designers and the public to participate in the needed conversation about the future of the world. Let us combine the knowledge, expertise and skills of the designers with human beings in a very early phase of a design process.
Design Through Public stands for enabling design practices to make use of the public’s opinion without the need for detailed prototypes. Furthermore, designing through public enables the public to participate within the design process at the early stages. It is required that the practices that rise out of the movement will enter both design processes in early stages and -in a subtle way-society. This way, both design and society will strengthen instead of harming each other.
The movement is not a guideline and will not force designers to limit their designs to please the public. In addition, the resulting dialogue is not meant to constrain the designer or the public in any way. I am aware of the fact that this movement might decrease the freedom of speech and work of designers in the long run. However, I do believe that reflecting on our role as a designer and accepting and building on the public’s opinion, within a fast-evolving world, is stronger than ignoring ethical norms and values by only pushing our own visions. In other words, there are no good and wrong answers and no consequences can arise. The only goal this movement and I endeavor for, is sparking the needed conversation.
Design Through Public should not be confused with Public Design. Where Public Design focuses on designing products and services that will be placed within the public space, Design Through Public focusses on sparking the conversation, enabling experience evaluation and creates a podium for both designers and all layers of society to address (future) design challenges.