Gentle Change

Fotografía de Peter Morville

Peter Morville

President, Semantic Studios

We are in the business of change. The bridge from “what is” to “what if” begins with our models and maps.

And yet, as a “move fast break things” mindset undermines research and planning, it is we as designers who struggle to adapt. To fix the interface, we must fix the culture, but to do so, we must go from sensemaking to change-making; and that’s a chasm we’re not ready to cross. If we hope to make our cultures capable of compassion for users, we might learn from those who for centuries have worked to grow compassion for animals. From humane societies and sanctuaries to undercover investigations and shock advertising, the diversity of strategies for advancing animal wellbeing is impressive; even as the challenges they/we face are familiar. How do we overcome motivated reasoning and cultural resistance? How might we cultivate kindness and expand the moral circle by reshaping the categories of us and them? How can we use cognitive bias to our advantage without corrupting the means and the ends? What are the limits of positive reinforcement? What if we banish externalities, see the whole ecosystem, and shift from human-centered to un-centered design? In this talk, we’ll use the lenses of information, action, experience, and environment to explore how their ways of change might inform ours. And we’ll consider why, in an era of acceleration, it makes sense to slow down. Moving fast breaks things. It sows the seeds of fear, anxiety, grief, and trauma. Now is the time for a gentle change. It’s slow, difficult, unorthodox, and more transformational than we realize. As Pema Chodron whispers “patience is a revolutionary act.”