Design partner Ashleigh Axios says that while government and social sector workers should not have to feel the daily weight of the world on their shoulders, their work shapes lives and can potentially impact millions of people and future generations.
The former creative director for the Obama Whitehouse discussed her approach to design and problem-solving in a lightning talk at the AGL Summit on Nov. 7, 2019, in Washington, D.C. Her talk, titled “The Power of Partnerships,” cited three examples of design and their impact on related communities, including examples in product design, city planning and the use of medical equipment.
“Good partnerships, I believe, see no individual as a victim of their circumstances simply to be helped, but rather see them as their own types of subject matter experts, and experiential experts in the problems and opportunities,” said Axios. “When they are approached as collaborators and codesigners, and partners who are necessary to the process, amazing things can actually happen.”
She cited the latin phrase “Nihil de nobis, sine nobis,” which translates to nothing about us, without us, a design maxim that is embedded in a range of revolutionary approaches, including user-centered design and design thinking.
Her reading recommendations include:
“We Are the Original Lifehackers” by Liz Jackson (NY Times)
Accessible America by Bess Williamson
Automattic inclusive design cards by Ashleigh Axios
The Power Broker by Robert Caro
Mismatch by Kat Homes
Technically Wrong by Sara Wachter-Boettcher
Ruined by Design by Mike Monteiro
Creative Confidence by Tom Kelley and David Kelley
The Non-Designer’s Guide to Design Thinking by Saso Kunitake
Watch her 25-minute talk below.