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Who Would You Interview

Who Would You Interview

Communication, Community, Education

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  • What would you ask John Thackara, director of Doors of Perception?

    Community, Communication Design


    This week, what would you ask John Thackara, director of Doors of Perception?

    Founded in 1993 as a conference in Amsterdam, Doors of Perception now organizes festivals and projects around the world in which grassroots innovators work with designers to imagine sustainable futures and take practical steps to realize them.

    John also helps cities and regions build next-generation institutions. A former London bus driver, and later a book and magazine editor, John was the first director (1993-1999) of the Netherlands Design Institute. He has since served as program director (2007) of Designs of the time (Dott 07) a new biennial in northeast England, and commissioner (2008) of City Eco Lab, an event that took place at the esteemed French design biennial Cit√© du Design Saint √Čtienne.

    John is also an associate of The Young Foundation, UK; senior advisor on sustainability to the UK Design Council; and an advisor on sustainability indicators to Agence France Presse.

    But that's not all: He has authored many books including, In The Bubble: Designing In A Complex World (MIT Press), which examines the role of technology in our lives, how it will play out in the future, relying on people more than objects, and the importance of ethics and responsibility in design.

    Needless to say, DESIGN 21 is pleased to have John's attention!

    So what do you want to know about sustainable design and the future? This is your chance to ask John Thackara.

    Post your questions here by September 10 at 4pm EST.

  • Having read your book and your design blog, you've seen a lot of change over the last few years, both good and bad, but what's your favourite innovation regarding sustainability in the developed world? I'm also interested to see what new changes you know of that are happening in local communities to reduce waste and encourage recycling and reuse, and also to increase social interaction in neighbourhoods.

  • dear sir, a large poppulation is capable of buying domestic appliances. we are seing a lot of changes in the present consumer/ domestic electronic appliances.

    with the introduction of high bandwidth connectivity, services and global production, what do u think is the future of the design of such appliances and as interaction designers what are the new skills that we need to learn.

    thak you very much for your response. warm regards, a student

  • As an educator, I've used, and very much appreciated, sections from In the Bubble for continuing education students at UC Berkeley who are learning about the principles of sustainable design. What I often find is that after learning about the integral and wholistic nature of sustainability, students tend to focus very narrowly on more technical aspects of design. There seems to be something about the culture of this field that still encourages reductionist approaches, and prioritizes "objective" metrics. What insights do you have in your teachings and talks that can help designers maintain an integral perspective?

  • What are three countries, communities, or peoples that you might nominate if a Global Hotbed of Creativity contest were held today?

  • Young designers hear lots of different pieces of advice as they progress through their education.

    What's a rule, motto, or tip that you hope is never again given to a developing designer?

  • We live, experience and design in a complex world. We give some word, some meanings, for granted, but as somebody said 'words make worlds'...

    So i am wandering:

    What is ethics in design? Is there anything like ethical design? ...or a design's ethic that can change the way we do things? Should we?

    And once we have defined this, is there any example of ethic for profit designs experiences / is 'ethics' sustainable in a broad understandig of the term?

  • Hi John

    At the Lift09 conference you said:

    "What we have to do is go and find people innovating, changing and re-organising aspects of daily life that are already there."

    I would be really curious to know if you had any recent examples of how you see people re-mapping and changing things locally in the way you describe? What are the difficulties in encouraging people to initiate change in their local communities?

    We are big fans of yours on the Thriving Too Blog...

    Some examples:




    Thank you!

    :) Tessy

  • " Things may seem out of control but they are not out of our hands.Many of the troubling situations in our world are the result of design decisions."(In the bubble:designing in a complex world/ John Thackara/ MIT press,2005)

    My question is about the role of identity and culture in design for this complex the other word,what is the role of design decisions in cultural aspects of future world?

  • I've not yet had a chance to see the updates to your book where you have added a chapter on development so I am curious to know the "nuggets" that you might present related to design and development. What would you want to say to designers who are offering their skills in these cross-cultural contexts?

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  • Internet is one of the greatest things ever brought to us. It enables us to explore and learn about new things easily, but sometimes it also is one way of destroying someone else's reputation through negative publicity. <a href="">Conrad Dimanche</a> is one of the many people who experienced this type of reputation management issue.

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