Design Under Pressure

A session by Molly Wilson
Senior Designer and Researcher, Simply Secure

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About this session

Design thinking takes a basically optimistic perspective on the world. We believe that, as long as we address real human needs, as long as we give people efficiency, clarity, meaning, and delight, the universe as we know it will pretty much behave itself. We treat threats – from hackers to stalkers, from pandemics to riots – as edge cases that we can't possibly foresee, and that we'll handle when they come up.

But now we're all living in what we used to call an "edge case." And no, we can't just design with the constraints of this particular crisis in mind. We need to rethink our entire attitude. We need to integrate adversarial thinking into human-centered design.

We'll learn 3 different DT methods that help you design for high-pressure contexts. They’re inspired by tools from the world of cybersecurity, a field that has long needed to design for resilience. These methods fit best in the synthesis, ideation, and prototyping phases.

You should be familiar with the basic methods of human-centered design, and have access to the tool Miro.

-> Content warning: because of the types of situations we will discuss, this session may include some references to physical and/or psychological violence. <-

Molly Wilson

I taught design thinking at the Stanford d.school from 2011-2014, then led the Advanced Track at the HPI School of Design Thinking from 2015-2018. Now I work as a researcher and designer at Simply Secure, a German/American nonprofit that supports and promotes human-centered design in nonprofit technology and civic technology. We focus on themes like designing for trust, designing for privacy and security, developing a design ethic, and designing for high-pressure situations.

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