Instead of using design as a means of providing a solution, it uses design to problematize the situation.

This line from DiSalvo’s chapter on Device of Articulation really jumped out at me. It made me think of Jamaica’s National Development Plan, “Vision 2030“, and how it’s being approached. Now let me confess: I am not as intimate with the details of this plan as I should be, I suspect, especially in regards to the research that undergirds its implementation. That being said, I strongly suspect that this long-term socioeconomic development plan is being implemented on the basis of public consultations and expert advice. The immediate problems I can see from these tactics are that people often can’t or don’t articulate what they want; what they want isn’t often aligned with what they need (or what will benefit others); and that research for the development plan is reduced to a grand requirements-gathering session. The ultimate problem I fear, is that they’ll implement, at great expense, static solutions that won’t grow with the population’s changing needs and desires, or worse, will limit potential futures.

This chapter really gave me concrete examples of how the Vision 2030 team could get closer to real desiderata, and really start to tease out the connections and nuances in our socioeconomic problems (I’m thinking particularly of the Natural Fuse project). The people could literally get hands on with the explication and exploration our problems and potential solutions, and, most importantly own the process.

P.S: I wish I’d read this paper before the PIT Crew hackathon. The Natural Fuse really inspired a perspective on the prompt that I think would definitely have been more effective (and appropriate) than a game.