Lesson#11: The system includes people, and all the chaos that comes with people.
—Clint Beharry, Class of 2011
We’re all crazy, and we live in a crazy world. Systems designed with feedback loops and goals were analyzed for products and services in school, but being in an organization I’ve learned that the system needs to include the full team, their individual goals and mental models, and the ability to comprehensively progress on an idea.
In a way it’s political, but it also involves adhering to a vision and communicating clearly to align people and goals (including your subjective irrational self, somehow…). What seems to work best—at
the time of this writing—is a constantly empathic process, habitually iterated, with frequent injections of humor.
As designers we naturally think of tool/service solutions, and the idea of agent-based individual systems could be worked into models (and management tools). But there doesn’t seem to be any substitute for face-to-face bonding time. I’m hoping the concept of slow design takes off in some socially significant directions in the future. So much of our field is exploring with tech what tech can do, and supporting people to do what only people can do.
Clint Beharry is a Senior Creative Technologiest at Harmony Institute, New York City, NY USA.