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Mr-914
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Direct user input does not need to be expensive. I had a sport coat made for me two years ago. $250...nut much more than a cheapy at La Baie (Macy's type department store in Canada). Also, in many villages in the developing world there are still craftspeople who make tools, jewelry etc as people demand it. Moreover, they will make these objects to the user's specs & modify or make a new one until the user/client/consumer is happy. This stuff is dirt cheap and made using local materials that are often 100% biodegradable.

I think it would be a neat project to design something like a keyboard for one person using no standard parts. What would it look like? Would it be flat? Would it be rigid? I hope someday that all design becomes direct-to-user. It would be amazing work.
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thirdnorth
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First, thanks for the references. I'll get to them soon.

Again, you are slanting the solutions to one side which I think is a terrible mistake for designers. e.g., "They don't just want electric power, they want it cheap, and solar panels are not cheap." Cheap is only 1 driver. They want power without pollution, air or water, and they definately don't want it in their back yard. Just like your other examples, limiting yourself to one driver will limit your solutions instead a taking a broader view. Do you design a disposable razor or do you design a means to remove hair from your face? The results of that change in drivers will yield vastly different results.
thirdnorth wrote: The hypocrisy comes from the top-down cattle herding approach of changing personal behavior under the guise of user centered design.
Actually, by only offering a disposable razor, you are doing a top-down cattle herding approach. You are changing behavior - 100 years ago people didn't throw away things after 3 uses, now they do. That's why I prefer the broad view and the individual can choose. A true design democracy puts forth all ideas. Some will stick, some won't. You judge the idea one way, I do it another and everyone else judges it their own way. You seem to want to censor ideas you consider "change personal behavior". I say let them stand or fall on their own merits.
That's funny, you said almost exactly what I said before.
This is not what I'm saying at all. In a truly democratic design process, anyone would be able to design/produce/promote whatever kind of product they want, free to fail or succeed on their own merits. I think you and I agree on this approach.
The difference is see in your razor example is the introduction of disposable razors was most likely not a social experiment. Rather, it was an additional option on a drug store shelf. You could still use your traditional razor. There was a choice, you had options. Market forces decided that disposable razors would win out. Since then, we've had all kinds of options to remove hair from the face. There are hair removing chemicals, electric razors, traditional "old school" razors, laser hair removal, electrolysis, waxing, plucking, etc. Disposable razors still win out (like the Mach 5). I'm not saying that a perfect society should ONLY offer disposable razors.

Ok, so social behavior changes after the introduction of a successful product. This is to be expected. But the Design for Social Change movement is different in the way it seeks change. A group of designers pairs with local planners, politicians, and societal 'experts' to define what to them is a more 'preferable' way of doing things. They rely on legislation to impose change. The goal is not to add more choices, it is to put a product in place and then legislate success.

Take San Fran for instance. People are generally happy going to the grocery store and use plastic bags. The city bans plastic bags. Residents enjoy taking their kids to McDonald's and the kids like the happy meal toys. The city bans toys in happy meals. If these were truly left to market forces, to "stand or fall on their own merits", plastic bags would have already been replaced, McD's would save money on making crappy toys.

http://articles.sfgate.com/2007-03-28/n ... ssociation
http://www.sfenvironment.org/our_progra ... i=6&ii=142
http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/201 ... -_with.php

In Chicago, there is a problem with childhood obesity (not uncommon to other places). The solution is not to provide more choices of healthy foods, it is to ban home-made lunches.
For parents whose kids do not qualify for free or reduced price school lunches, the $2.25 daily cafeteria price can also tally more than a homemade lunch. "We don't spend anywhere close to that on my son's daily intake of a sandwich (lovingly cut into the shape of a Star Wars ship), Goldfish crackers and milk," Northwestern education policy professor Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach told the paper in an email. She told The Lookout parents at her child's public school would be upset if they tried to ban homemade lunches.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookou ... food-fight
http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011 ... lic-school

How is this allowing a product/service/system to "stand or fall on their own merits"?

Remember that group that provided women in some remote village with rolling 50 gallon water tanks? They did it so the women wouldn't have to carry water on their heads, and could increase water carrying efficiency. The women loved it and it changed their culture immensely. That's good! It was freely and voluntarily adopted. This is the approach I approve of. If they had gone in and passed laws saying 'this is the new way', I would have been opposed. Yet it seems Design for Social Change is headed in this exact direction. At least in the US.
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sanjy009
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thirdnorth wrote:Remember that group that provided women in some remote village with rolling 50 gallon water tanks? They did it so the women wouldn't have to carry water on their heads, and could increase water carrying efficiency. The women loved it and it changed their culture immensely. That's good! It was freely and voluntarily adopted. This is the approach I approve of. If they had gone in and passed laws saying 'this is the new way', I would have been opposed. Yet it seems Design for Social Change is headed in this exact direction. At least in the US.
The Hippo Roller- great product. http://www.hipporoller.org/

Design works out the needs and wants, and providing a solution that met those (regardless of government policy). Everyone's happy and is benefiting and it appears to be one of those "I can't believe that no-one thought of this before" products that really hammers home the value of good design.

Imagine this scenario. Some people are resistant to the Hippo Roller- i.e. “this means my wife and daughter can now spend less time collecting water, and now have time for school- I don't want them to go to school and get educated, because they will move to the city and leave me” (or for any other cultural or misogynistic or ignorant reasons) so large sections of a society reject it. The Government can see past this and so passes a law promoting the Hippo Roller, or passes a law making education for girls mandatory so the Hippo Roller is adopted by stealth.

Opposition to this kind of government policy is to me is nuts. If everyone can see that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, why get stuck on party politics? The ‘don’t tread on me’ position can seem almost fundamentalist, rather than a pragmatic approach.
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yo
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So this brings up a good question, is there a primary difference in designing for a mainly want based system (developed nations) vs a mainly need based system (developing world)... understanding those are gross over generalizations.

Personally, I don't need a hippo roller. But in other parts of the world it may be one of the most impactful objects in a person's life.
thirdnorth
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sanjy009 wrote:The Hippo Roller- great product. http://www.hipporoller.org/

Design works out the needs and wants, and providing a solution that met those (regardless of government policy). Everyone's happy and is benefiting and it appears to be one of those "I can't believe that no-one thought of this before" products that really hammers home the value of good design.

Imagine this scenario. Some people are resistant to the Hippo Roller- i.e. “this means my wife and daughter can now spend less time collecting water, and now have time for school- I don't want them to go to school and get educated, because they will move to the city and leave me” (or for any other cultural or misogynistic or ignorant reasons) so large sections of a society reject it. The Government can see past this and so passes a law promoting the Hippo Roller, or passes a law making education for girls mandatory so the Hippo Roller is adopted by stealth.

Opposition to this kind of government policy is to me is nuts. If everyone can see that the benefits outweigh the disadvantages, why get stuck on party politics? The ‘don’t tread on me’ position can seem almost fundamentalist, rather than a pragmatic approach.
Good point. I wasn't looking at it from this perspective. It's true that there are times when culture changing laws are necessary. In your example, one person's actions impede the rights of others. Your scenario makes me think of the targeted laws that chipped away at slavery leading up to the civil war. The 3/5ths Compromise allowed the northern states to limit the number of representatives the South could send to congress, establishing an anti-slavery majority, and setting a path to abolish slavery altogether. While not centered around product design, the tactic was similar in that it took an indirect approach.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three-fifths_compromise
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iab
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thirdnorth wrote: They rely on legislation to impose change. The goal is not to add more choices, it is to put a product in place and then legislate success.

How is this allowing a product/service/system to "stand or fall on their own merits"?

Yet it seems Design for Social Change is headed in this exact direction. At least in the US.
We are in agreement that legislating design can be perilous.

But what makes you think designers are driving this legislation? Are they sponsoring the bills? Are their names attached to the bills? Is it the Dieter Rams Law that bans plastic bags? Is Design for Social Change a nefarious group bent for world domination?

And sometimes legislating change is good. The hand washing is a perfect example. But instead of making law you must wash your hands with this product, they took the broader view of you must stop preventable infections. Just like instead of designing a disposable razor, design a means to remove hair from your face.

In a broader sense, I am for laws that prevent people from limiting my pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. An example you brought up, obese people raise the cost of healthcare. As a healthy person in an insurance pool, I am paying for that increase which is someone else's choice. Making a law saying you have to eat this certain type of food is silly. But passing a law that says you can't take a personal excemption because you are obese does make some sense to me.
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yo
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This is relevant to the prediction of the driverless car.

http://www.paleofuture.com/blog/2010/12 ... -1957.html
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nunoCR
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So what if design for social change is undemocratic (which I don't think it is), being right and democratic don't necessarily go together.
There is also this false connection between the market and democracy as if it actually promoted it nowadays. Democracy or other
desirable states of affairs do not rank in the market. What ranks is reducing costs and increasing revenues for corporations for the sake of a competitive market.
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