Designers Don't Fight Back (part 2)


Last time we'd written, we focused on the concept of values for designers. Can we follow a set of values in order to guide design decisions, the work we take on and, and how we interact with the world around us? This week, we'd like to share some of the tenets on which we base our own decisions.

ADMCi Tenet #1: Business value is built on serving people first.

Predictions in the usability of medical software, pharmaceutical access, and the like abound this year. If we serve customers before stockholders, our decisions will be directed by what is ultimately best for those we serve--for instance, to make them healthy. In the medical industry, the equation for finding a cure or marketing a drug would be more about eradication than management if that were the case. A conflict arises though in what is ultimately attractive to stockholders. McKesson is a perfect example of this failure to serve customers over stockholders. And, unfortunately, our government is complicit. Businesses in 2018 and for decades to come must be judged on their ability to serve people first. Profits will follow.

ADMCi Tenet #2: Efficient and responsible systems persist.

Bitcoin speculation is all the rage (and confusion) as of this writing. Everyone from the Chairman of the Federal Reserve to Jay Z has an opinion. And, beyond Bitcoin, myriad currencies built on the blockchain architecture seem imminently promising. But value is hard to land. What’s interesting about the speculation is that the ADMCi tenet is at least for the moment unproven. Because we don’t fully understand what transparency means in terms of Bitcoin and many other blockchain pased ‘currencies.’ For instance, is there a ceiling? Can futures provide a throttle on speculation? What does an unregulated currency do in changing economic circumstances? What is a cryptocurrency’s relationship to traditional currencies? Until transparency is understood, we can’t ‘know’ the currency.

For sake of reference, we’d offer an example that’s more ‘knowable’: The Federal Reserve. As an organization, and admittedly an arm of a government with its own goals in mind, The Fed both steers currency value and confidence. It indirectly controls US dollar value through meaningful throttles through availability and scarcity. But, in addition to that, and perhaps more powerfully, it also influences value markets in terms of information disclosure. In its idealized form, the Fed would be a curator of trust designed to influence the currency. There is currently no equivalent for Bitcoin. In this case we have to wait and see. That said, the opportunities with other blockchain concepts are incredibly encouraging in the spirit of transparency.   

ADMCi Tenet #3: The best innovations make us more human.

Defining what makes us human is a full-time job unto itself. For our own part, we’ll defer to sources like the Humanist movement, where the focus is on improving quality of life, self understanding, and awareness of others. In short, those activities, experiences, and influences that help you understand yourself and help you be your best self in the moment are good for you. That’s hard to argue. Some experiences are designed to take you outside yourself and outside the moment. Most obviously, movies and literature help do that and it can be a very healthy experience to walk in someone else’s shoes, experience different environments, etc.

The opposite of this is happening in mobile technology though. With the recent spate of concern from early technology developers from Apple for instance, concern is growing about kids and their ability to manage technology addictions that arise from mobile phone use. We’ve seen it with our own kids. “Apple investors say content on the phones needs to be more geared around the youth mind. And they're calling for Apple to do more research, and develop tools that will allow parents to more easily set time and usage limits.” The fact is, we need the same for ourselves, no matter our age. Self-awareness is the first step. A willingness to be in the moment is next.

more to come...

Until next time