The Manifesto of Society Centered Design

Society Centered Design

The manifesto of Society Centered Design:

“All around us we see signs that patriarchal capitalism and exploitative business models place profit over privacy, and efficiency over agency. They pit individuals against the collective. At their core, they are hierarchical and exclusionary.”

“We’ve had enough. We demand better. Better design approaches and tools, better measures of success, better data protection standards.”

- Put care first

- Earn trust

- Empower collective agency

- Reimagine public value

- Design for people’s rights

- Ensure fair and just oversight

- Re­distribute the power of technology

- Create compassion at scale

- Design for regenerative action

- Confront uncertainty

PS. I will add this to the Awareness section of our awesome-humane-tech and delightful humane design curated lists.


Hey Arnold, have a look at and especially the third and fourth article. Because society-centered is — I think — indeed a good term for the answers if we want to counterbalance the spinning out of control of individualism (which damages ‘society’).

That fourth article suggests that we might need a ‘fourth’ power in the balance of power between executive, legislative, and judicial: the protective (that last one an independent power that protects individuals from being manipulated so the fabric of society is less vulnerable). Such a power could guard against ‘design and actions against the fabric of a democracy and the rule of law’. But there are likely to be far better answers than that.

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Thank you Gerben, I will take a look at these. They seem very interesting.

I am working on a new initiative since March this year (as a side-project still), called innercircles, which goes from the premise that we have inherently unsustainable systems in place throughout society (most prominently our economics, of course). Therefore an approach of holistic sustainability is required to make a move in the right direction. I use a modified version of circles of sustainability model here, but with the Politics domain removed (innercircles is a grassroots peoples’ movement) and Technology as an all-encompassing circle that affects the other three domains of Culture, Economics and Ecology. Like this:

You will find my take on the politics interesting, as I am following an opposite approach from the one you advocate (I just reread your intro on the forum). It is an approach of revolution through evolution. But anchored in reality by mindfulness principles: only progress counts (no lofty unrealistic visions).

I just read Gossip, Trust and the Information Revolution and it is absolutely stunning. I love the analysis you provide in this article @gctwnl , and greatly agree with your reasoning. I’ve had many of the same thoughts the past couple of years, and these together with my experiences here as a community facilitator are reflected in the innercircles movement (which is still in incubation phase).

For everyone reading this thread: I absolutely recommend you read Gergen’s article, and probably the entire series (which is on the top of my reading queue now :slight_smile: )

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