This article definitely came as a shock to me after experiencing my university’s Human Centered Design class. To say that the most popular design thinking strategy is BS is a very bold and powerful statement. But I can definitely see after reading the article how it has its shortcomings.

Tricia Wang outlines the ways that we need to rework this design strategy of asking “How Might We” questions to design outward to the people we are designing for instead of to the narrow audience of those designing. She also points out the fact that many of the people asking these questions are white men with their own biases and opinions. It also points out something from an article I wrote about before called “Invisible Women” which shows that these type of design biases are the reason that women are killed more in car crashes due to the protective gear being designed for men.

I definitely did not consider the word “We” to be targeted at the designers thinking of these problems at first. I considered it to mean we as a whole or as a society. But now I can see how the question only takes into consideration of the people designing different things, which is why I think research and ethnographic approaches are so important. Otherwise we can get things like Juul that the article mentioned that had one motive but ended up being a negative by increasing the use of nicotine and creating negative energy around it.

The “we” in how might we is also negative when we consider those who are not being heard. It’s a very often that important opinions and ideas are withheld by people because of the loud voices and deep pockets of people who want their voices to be heard more. This is why I agree that “how might we” should 100% be converted into “Who should we talk to?” because that brings in more of the ethnographic approach to design that I enjoy which includes the actual voices, opinions, and experiences of the people we are designing for.

My opinion is that design is constantly straying from its goal of communicating an idea or motive to an audience effectively. There’s so much in the world right now of trying to come up with the next best solution or way of thinking such as “how might we” that we ignore the core of what design is which is finding new and different solutions to problems, and the way we can do that is by broadening our research and getting outside of our own boxes.

Article referenced