Design ethics and humane systems design: the new disruptive innovation paradigm


We are undergoing a wave of revival of design ethics. I have been proposing the term “humane systems design” not only to remind ourselves about ethics in design but also about to remind ourselves that we operate within interrelated systems that demand wide accountability.

The world is connected now. We are exchanging information at an ever-increasing rate. The future of companies depends on their global brand which will be evaluated through ethical criteria along with the triple bottom line accountability (people + Planet + Profits.)

I forecast that we will be seeing in the near future independent organizations that dedicate to watch and evaluate design ethics. It will no longer be the job of random bloggers but a dedicated branch of evaluation that will have an effect on the way your company is regarded by investors and other business and organizational stakeholders.

We will stop seeing nominations for “the world’s most innovative companies” and we will see nominations for acchievements that are along the lines of (3BL=Triple Bottom Line) “3BL innovations”.

Companies will be evaluated for their “usability” as active components in our socio-ecological systems. Those organizations that are found to be harming our systems will be invited to innovate or atrophy away.

Today this leaves the doors wide open for disruptive innovations and disruptive companies that can show results on the triple bottom line.

Those that are still arguing against the wisdom behind 3BL-like concepts may find themselves “disrupted” by other innovative companies that “get” the public demand.

The Growing Awareness
Number of Google search results for “Triple Bottom Line”
in 2002 = 15,600
in 2005 = 187,000
in 2006 = 721,000


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