Apr 29, 2008

"Designing Like We Give a Damn" Wrap Up


Last week Maria Giudice and I gave a talk at the Web 2.0 conference in San Francisco about the influence of research on our work with the Open Architecture Network (OAN). The OAN was the brainchild of the wonderful folks at Architecture for Humanity who won a TED Prize in 2006 for their wish to improve living standards around the world.

The conference last week seemed to be more focused on technology than the people using it, so to get everyone in the right mood, we asked them to take a moment to answer this question:

"If you had one wish to change the world, what would it be?"

We asked them to write their answers quickly on a post-it note and then we collected their responses. We knew we were pushing into touchy-feely territory so we weren't sure how people would respond. After our session was over, I skimmed through the responses and was relieved to see most people took the exercise seriously; our wad of post-its is a snapshot of what people care about.

The responses were a mix of lofty goals ("Peace," "Eliminate poverty," "Halt global climate change!"), and the occasional smartass comment ("More beer!"). Some of them were funny ("My wish: nobody uses IE6 anymore" "Intergalactic asteroid gun" "Put me in charge!"). Some were political ("Get rid of George Bush") and anti-political ("Remove politicians from government."). A few of the responses were a bit puzzling without more information ("Everyone to attain a serene indifference."). One person's response seemed to imply we were asking the wrong question ("That the need to change the world no longer existed: shift your P.O.V.").

What stands out for me is how many people want the same thing. We want peace—between countries, between citizens, between our own coworkers and friends and families. We want people to be treated fairly, from ending poverty to having access to good healthcare. We want to live on this planet in a way that doesn’t squander our natural resources.

If you came to our talk, I hope you came away with this idea: you can make a difference. Use your talent and energy to do something that matters to you. And if you stayed for the whole case study, you saw that the work we showed isn’t perfect. But we did it. The point isn’t to do something perfect. The point is to do something because it matters to you.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of all 149 responses. Enjoy.

Katrina Alcorn


Torture and killing people
Everyone could just get along

Tell people to relax
Eliminate war
Barriers to energy—take them down
Stop war For three wishes!!! (1. Peace, 2. education, 3. renewable energy)
Remove religions
Un-f**k healthcare
Get people to be more self-aware
Solve world hunger
To make everyone unselfish
Save journalism [editor's note: I'm pretty sure my husband wrote that one.]
Clean it up
Simplified communication that is more intuitive
Make people smarter
Green up now
No guns
Can’t we all just get along?
Work 4 days a week!
No disease
Make it more desirable to help others
Eliminate poverty
Everyone to attain serene indifference
No war
Water forever
Everyone had higher consciousness
Environmental issues and energy crisis
No more wars
To end the death penalty
Add more hours to the day
My wish: Nobody uses IE6 anymore
That animals could talk to us in a way we understand
Guidance to residual income
People should be less anger
Every child has enough food and health care
Decrease bad vides “no static”
A fountain
No starving people
Sustainable freshwaters (ecosystems)
Global warming would not be a problem
Eliminate hunger
Nobody goes to bed hungry
That the need to change the world no longer existed: shift your P.O.V.
No war/destruction/animosity
No more disease
Lessen pain and suffering
Intergalactic asteroid gun
Food/water for everyone
End world hunger
World peace
End poverty
Eliminate poverty
World peace
More “southern hospitality”
Rising prices
No more war
Put me in charge!
People who would give a damn!
Have world peace!
Abolish hunger
End poverty and war
Universal access to healthcare
Cure cancer
Stop all wars
World peace
More empathy from leaders
Faster to travel around the world
Remove envy
Remove toxins
Peace and free wireless
Make everyone happy
Go back in time and unelect Bush
No more hunger
World peace
Common set of values
All human beings can fly
No war
Bad persons don’t exist
Mandate beauty
Halt global climate change!
Better/more muni
No one has to work—100% free time
Bring an end to suffering
Have disputes be settled with words
Less poverty
End poverty
Free gas or energy alternative
More fun time!
Clean water for all beings
World peace and inter-religious understanding
For all of us to work toward one goal
Make it more fair
Elimination of poverty
Eliminate the need for oil
Environmental sustainability
Better education and programs for youth
No diseases
End world hunger—when basic needs are met creativity can emerge
Send all criminals to Mars
No torture
Equality and peace
Get rid of George Bush
End borders and states
World hunger
No religion
Remove politicians from government
End hunger
Eliminate orphans
No plastic
Fuel prices
More receptive people
Lend IE code to the open source community
World peace
Solve world hunger
That all people would not be wanting for basic necessities
[peace sign & marijuana leaf]
World without terrorists
Everybody getting along
That people would care more about other people
Connect everyone
Impeach Bush
Green power
Eliminate waste
Free beer
Free money
To rule the world
I wish that Star Trek replicates were real. That way we can make anything we want.
Opportunities for everyone to realize their dreams and goals
Remove greed by people finding the need for sharing
We would all be happy (in our own way)
More beer

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Kathy's picture

Dr Taylor teaches us how to attain deep inner peace - easily, simply, without drugs, anytime we want it. Forgive me for doing everything I can to be sure everyone reads this book and sees this video, but I think all of us benefit and in the larger sense, if everyone reads this, our world will benefit in a very large way.

Peter P. Jesella's picture

"Pushing into touch-feely territory" with "lofty goals".

I find human communication in the form of dialogue to be mostly silence and wonder why?

On April 9th, 2008 I gave Maria Giudice and other speakers at the Commonwealth Club talk on "Collaborating for Change" my 30-year wish, and requested some written feedback. It appears in real life and time, all have priorities that preclude them from making this happen

This being:
From "Proposal on U.S. National Policy regarding establishing a Participatory Citizenship System" at the May World Affairs Council Asilomar Conference

"HR 1730 ? 1979/80, HR 2230 ? 1981/82 A bill in the House of Representatives to awaken and enhance a nation-wide voluntary service system, through a superior registration and feedback policy. Today with the Internet network, such a system provides the potential of more efficient coordination, impact if policy makers are willing to listen, think, consider, reflect on, educate, and
Advocate to concerned citizens and politicians."

Three-part theme:
Educational [decision-making] Democracy;
Constructive [sweat-equity] Citizenship; &
National [economic-individual] Security

My little wish is for a dialogue about this with Hot Studio's CEO and billing representative regarding the cost for one individual to effectively challenge the internet world with a robust Drupal, Content Management website. And also understand why the Contact page on your site is blank?

My big wish is to see the U.S. Congress debate and vote up or down on such a simple but touch-feely territory, but with lofty goals, this core idea, and if passed seeing the President of the United States clearly articulate why it is placed into law or vetoed by the President.

That's about it, onto your next blog.
Peter Jesella alias http://www.gosella.com still under construction years after its creation

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