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Dark Matter and Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary
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Dark Matter and Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary

4.43  ·  Rating Details  ·  60 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
We live in an age of sticky problems, whether it’s climate change or the decline of the welfare state. With conventional solutions failing, a new culture of decision-making is called for. Strategic design is about applying the principles of traditional design to "big picture" systemic challenges such as healthcare, education and the environment. It redefines how problems a ...more
Kindle Edition, 86 pages
Published May 22nd 2012 by Strelka Press
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Jan 03, 2015 Kars rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
The case studies and the suggested strategic design vocabulary save this from becoming a too hand-wavy affair. It is also nice and short, which radically increases the chances of people reading it. And it should be read—by designers interested in more meaningful work, and by anyone looking to change the organisation they work in or the society they live in. Even though I was already familiar with these ideas from Dan Hill's recent lectures, having them all written down in one place for deeper co ...more
Kyle Cameron Studstill
Aug 30, 2012 Kyle Cameron Studstill rated it it was amazing
A concise, 90-page definition of the difference between strategic design and it's shallower cousins: design thinking, management consulting, scenario planning, et al. By "dark matter" he means something like "the oft-overlooked politics between the stakeholders of any system which strategic design hopes to address."
Gitamba Saila-ngita
Sep 20, 2014 Gitamba Saila-ngita rated it it was amazing
A great primer on the reach of Design as a practice, its struggle in leveraging capital to earn a seat at the table of problem solving, and how "Design thinking" was a complete failure.
Feb 28, 2016 Dave rated it really liked it
Dan Hill gets to the heart of a meaningful frame & vocabulary for the type of design that deals with the messiest of societal / systemic problems. Includes quick case studies to illustrate major themes and a slightly self-referential set of definitions for the realm of strategic design. I want to hear more about embedded design practices taking the strategic design approach, and the outcomes of their efforts. Recommended as a higher level systems point of view for anyone thinking critically ...more
Dec 27, 2014 Callie rated it really liked it
This book was so relevant to the things I experience as a designer at Microsoft. I often tell people that designing for a canonical software product like Excel is more like urban planning than any other form of design. Dan Hill lays out a vocabulary and framework for thinking about how best to affect change when designing for large, complicated systems.
May 31, 2015 Vivien rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Must read for everyone who are interested in the next step following DesignThinking.
Jason Bootle
Jan 14, 2013 Jason Bootle rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I enjoyed this up until a point. Some very good thoughts about society and a designers role in applying design at a higher strategic level than we do but around half way I found the going tough and it seemed to get bogged down in too many examples. Reading it on the iPhone Kindle app didn't help as the screen is too small for reading.
Alper Çugun
Jan 28, 2013 Alper Çugun rated it it was amazing
Brilliant little book that makes the case for designers doing more than making things pretty. I especially found it useful to frame the things we had already been doing as activists into terminology that makes it easier to communicatie and apply.
Aug 27, 2013 Eric rated it it was amazing
easy to understand, powerful ideas, excellent primer for role of strategic design in transforming organizations. makes clear the need for both powerful theory and rooted projects and ways to transition back and forth between the two
Kyle Calian
Jul 29, 2015 Kyle Calian rated it it was amazing
I already want to read it again. It gives you a wonderful vocabulary to use as a designer who works outside of only the field of graphics.
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Dan Hill is CEO of Fabrica, a communications research centre and transdisciplinary studio based in Treviso, Italy. A designer and urbanist, he has previously held leadership positions at Sitra (the Finnish Innovation Fund), Arup, Monocle, and the BBC.
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