Jihern Baek, He/They
Founding Designer 🌼 Utopia Labs
Focusing on users who are underserved
The curb-cut effect, authored by Angela Glover Blackwell, suggests that designing for the benefit of our most vulnerable groups often benefits all of society. Baking this phenomenon into a design process means identifying marginalized user groups within a business' domain, and understanding not only their needs and challenges but also the things that bring joy. We can contextualize our initiatives accordingly to deliver impact broadly.
Championing value for users
When businesses myopically focus on speed (over impact) and short-term revenue, their sustainability and long-term growth are at risk. To that end, designers are uniquely positioned to actualize business potential by illuminating pathways that connect value for users to business impact, and subsequently advocating for them.
Enabling meaningful collaboration
In order to develop robust solutions, we must both have diversity and evoke diverse perspectives. To enable the latter, we must create meaningful ways to collaborate—establishing cultures that empower individuals and honor their agency; employing processes and exercises that invite vulnerability and nuance; and setting up recurring channels for feedback loops.
Designing systematically
Taking stock from 'Thinking in Systems' by Donella H. Meadows, the practice of identifying interconnected elements that service a particular goal is a foundational framework. With it, we have the tools to diagnose fundamental problems, acknowledge how our biases impact the systems we construct, and understand how our systems evolve over time—all of which are necessary to create viable solutions.