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Dark Matter and Trojan Horses: A Strategic Design Vocabulary
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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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
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."
An excellent intro to systems and strategic design for anyone that's interested in how design can define and tackle the problems of the modern world. This really helped me as a UX/UI/Product Designer to understand how design can do more. After reading this book, I think you will see that strategic design is the design we need for 21st-century problems.
Aug 23, 2018 Massimo Curatella rated it it was amazing
"we need to believe that reorienting our various cultures of decision-making may be the only civilised way forward."
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 abou ...more
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.
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.
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