I’ve been thinking about…

how I’m grateful I am to be in work. I’m especially thankful to have the opportunity to work on something that is important to me with a team so smart that I’d be a fool to work elsewhere.

I’m also thinking about how hard it is to work right now. I’m angry. I’m sad. I’m scared. And with my focus split between the health of my family, the health of my communities, and my own mental health, I’m left with little bandwidth to produce good work. (Let’s talk another day about how I can uncouple my self-worth from productive output).

That being said, I’m thankful that I am encouraged to explore my anger, sadness, and fear within my work. Because lord knows that:

Illustration by @stuffgracemade

I’ve been working on…

building design and technology toolkits that are anti-racist and using them in our work.

Here in the UK and US, we too often design and build products and services from a default-white perspective. That might be because the organisations behind the products are mostly white (and male). Or the capital behind those organisations is mostly white (and male).

Moreover, the tools we use to solve problems and build new solutions – like design thinking, human-centered design, and Jobs to Be Done – are default-white, created by white authors, used and celebrated by majority-white institutions, all within a structurally racist system.

It’s high time we re-examine our tools and build new tools that are fit for purpose. We’ll explore how IF employs anti-racist design thinking in our work, another time.

What I’m interested in…

Thomas Picketty’s book Capital in the Twenty-First Century.

We launched Society Centered Design in March, and while the team is working on how SCD shows up in design, technology, and the community, I’m exploring the business economics that can support SCD innovation. More on this to come.

If Kate Raworth’s Doughnut Economics provides an alternative to our current economic model, Piketty’s book details (in depth! it’s 700 pages + the next one is 1000) how we got here and identifies historic levers of change, which is very helpful when working to identify current levers of change.

I’m also reading about a human / merman romance because balance.

Shout out to my local book stores Burley Fisher Books and Pages of Hackney – both deliver!

I’ve been inspired by…

Protest posters

Illustration by Monyee Chau

Looking ahead…

I encourage my colleagues and friends to not just talk about it, but be about it. We are in a privileged position as designers, technologists, and decision makers at some of the world’s most influential organisations. Channel your anger, sadness, and loss into demonstrable action at home and at work.

If you need help figuring it out at home, I recommend you read this by Alex Fefegha, co-founder of COMUZI.

If you need help figuring it out in your data-rich / AI work, ring me and we’ll figure it out together.