Design for all the uses we cannot imagine

Every customer engagement is unpredictable as it is by its nature a chain of unknowable actions and reactions that might come from you, anyone or anything else.

The first thing that happens in an engagement therefore is change, and any plan you had before it started is solving for a situation that no longer exists.

Given this unpredictable interconnectedness of actors, actions and reactions customer problems aren’t simple or complicated they are complex. And complex problems need different mental models, tools and designs to be solved successfully.

Kevin Slavin argues that today we need to relinquish control, we need to design for participation:

“This returns to the drive-time question about the designers of complex adaptive systems: Price [architect Cedric Price] was designing not for the uses he wished to see, but for all the uses he couldn’t imagine. This demands the ability to engage with the people in the building as participants, to see their desires and fears, and then to build contexts to address them.” —

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