A man and a woman sitting surrounded by plants with technology interfaces in the background.
A man and a woman sitting surrounded by plants with technology interfaces in the background.

Wildlife Credits is a concept project by Panda Labs, the innovation arm of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) which currently operates in Namibia, Kenya and Romania. The intention of Wildlife Credits is to facilitate rewards for conservation efforts through a blockchain-based digital platform by paying communities to protect wildlife.

The intention is to reduce distribution costs, allow community agency in defining rewards, establish transparency and eliminate the possibility of misappropriation of funds. The project is currently trialled in Romania, Kenya and Namibia and will potentially be rolled out in additional countries.

Blockchain is a considerably new technology which means…


A team of three women surrounded by plants and computer interfaces
A team of three women surrounded by plants and computer interfaces

Wildlife Credits is a concept project by Panda Labs, the innovation arm of the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF). The intention of Wildlife Credits is to facilitate rewards for conservation efforts through a blockchain-based digital platform by paying communities to protect wildlife.

The intention is to reduce distribution costs, allow community agency in defining rewards, establish transparency and eliminate the possibility of misappropriation of funds. The project is currently trialled in Romania, Kenya and Namibia and will potentially be rolled out in additional countries.

A key challenge faced by the teams in Kenya and Romania was the difficulty of actually…


Space4Good is a social enterprise that leverages Geospatial Technology towards achieving the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals. We brought together our expertise because they wanted to explore the value of human-centred design thinking to their business and whether it could help them clarify their technologically-complex service to clients and stakeholders.

The problem the team faced was in order to deliver their service, the company relied on complex interactions and data flows (from data sourcing, visualisation to storing and reporting) and had difficulty in synthesising these into a clean and user-friendly User Interface. …


A busy traffic intersection from bird’s eye view, surrounded by trees
A busy traffic intersection from bird’s eye view, surrounded by trees
Photo by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash.

Humans design products and services, which in turn influence future designers. Design is not a linear, one-way process but a continuous correspondence of creation and iteration. A new product or service creates new entanglements of relationships that influence and therefore create new designs, and so forth.

Most design research methods quickly reach limitations. Products and services are likely used by groups of people who have different lived experiences and interact with them for different reasons and face a diversity of problems. For instance, the measurement of user satisfaction reveals little about actual user attitudes. …


Marina Bay Park in Singapore, a green and futuristic environment.
Marina Bay Park in Singapore, a green and futuristic environment.
Photo by Victor Garcia on Unsplash.

We’re in trouble. This may not be the first time you’re hearing this, but our global system is unsustainable. Over the last few years, this has led to radical environmental and social events — making us question whether we can sustain our current way of life into the future.

Organisations increasingly acknowledge the importance of sustainability, but there is still a systemic disconnect between the production and discarding of products and materials.

As an anthropologist, I consider the challenge of designing a sustainable future a social issue. It is no longer only economic, political, or environmental. Viewed through the lens…


A tree log in a deforested area.
A tree log in a deforested area.
Photo by roya ann miller on Unsplash

Transformation is a continuous process. 2020 has brought rapid acceleration of social transformation in a shift towards working from home, working remotely and living in the new normal of a global pandemic. Design thinking has also been going through a conceptual transformation in order to adapt to the new needs of organisations, product developers, researchers and consumers. But is human-centred design still equipped to identify and address the increasingly complex and new challenges we face in the new normal? And how can we design for positive impact beyond humans?

Human-centred design has dominated the product and service design industry, but…


An irrigated field with a single tree contrasted to a dry barren field
An irrigated field with a single tree contrasted to a dry barren field
Photo by Ivan Bandura on Unsplash

Wildfires, coral bleaching, plastic pollution and other events are happening at large scales and rates that are increasingly harmful to humans, animals and ecosystems. We live in an era of unprecedented human impact on our surroundings. This is described as the Anthropocene, which is “a new planetary era in which humans have become the dominant force shaping Earth’s bio-geophysical composition and processes.”

Whether it is groundwater depletion, deforestation, carbon emissions, plastic pollutions or nuclear waste, humans have created social systems and structures that have led to unsustainable use of resources and treatment of ecosystems. …


Three people working together to construct the word ‘insights’ written in large letters
Three people working together to construct the word ‘insights’ written in large letters
Working together to create insights. Illustration by Stephen Kung.

Interdisciplinary research brings together different ways of knowing and different ways of articulating that knowledge. By highlighting the entanglement of different actions and disciplinary approaches to research, I want to explore one key question in this article: Is there a better way to bring together and present the knowledge from interdisciplinary research to inform design processes?

Research is increasingly interdisciplinary in design research, where qualitative and quantitative researchers from the social, behavioural science, data science and beyond bring together different methods, concepts and modes of thinking. …


An illustration of a man walking in giant shoes at home, a metaphor for walking in somebody else’s shoes.
An illustration of a man walking in giant shoes at home, a metaphor for walking in somebody else’s shoes.
Walking in somebody else’s shoes. Illustration by Stephen Kung.

The term empathy is overused and under criticised — it is often intended to mean to understand and/or advocate for customers but holds little conceptual ground if critiqued in the context of thorough social science research. Empathy is less a concept that helps researchers contextualise data — it is more a method of advocacy, than for reflexivity and critical thinking — , and runs the risk of only holding partial truths about interlocutors.

Empathy is considered one step in the design process that may be described as an approach aimed at understanding ‘the user’ and then advocating for their needs…


A simple illustration of a woman with a notebook on a white board, a man walking with a laptop and a woman on a computer.
A simple illustration of a woman with a notebook on a white board, a man walking with a laptop and a woman on a computer.
Illustration by Stephen Kung.

Understanding customers of services and users of products is part of the central narrative of design processes. Too often, infographics tell us that designers ‘advocate for the user’ or that ‘empathy’ is part of the discovery phase of a design process.

But there is very little emphasis on reflexivity as way of thinking to stop and question, even to challenge our own actions as designers and researchers and the impacts they have on the people we design for. …

Thomas Wright

Anthropologist and designer interested in design research, environmental sustainability and social inclusivity. Founder gincostudio.com

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