Designing Our Way to a Better World

Designing Our Way to a Better World

Thomas Fisher

Print publication date: 2017

ISBN: 9780816698875

Publisher: University of Minnesota Press


Design involves envisioning what we need that doesn’t yet exist, and realizing possible futures better than what we have. This book applies that way of thinking about design to a range of poorly functioning systems – our schools, highways, and cities – and services – be they public, private, and non-profit – that either no longer meet our needs or that have underperformed for too long. We rarely think of systems and services as designed and, as a result, we tend to accept their failures the way we do the weather. But we should not give into such acquiescence. Designed every bit as much as the products we buy and the environments we inhabit, our systems and services deserve as much critical scrutiny and creative re-imagining as we would give any other design. This book, drawing from previously published essays by the author, makes the case for applying design thinking to the “invisible” systems we depend on for our daily lives and then shows what that might mean for our educational and belief systems, our infrastructure and public realm, and our political and economic systems. In the process, the author challenges the design assumptions that have led to so much poor performance: that our schools cannot teach creativity, that our governments cannot predict the disasters that befall us, that our health system will protect us from pandemics, that our politics will remain polarized, that our economy cannot avoid inequality, and that our industry cannot help but pollute the environment.