Morals, Ethics, Meaning and Quality

A few talks I attended in recent weeks have  helped me in thinking about issues I had been struggling with. The first talk was by Anne Galloway, who gave an excellent key note speech at the Enter_Unknown territories conference in Cambridge (26 April 2007). She mentioned the difference between ethics and morals. She explained that it is okay, and even necessary, to have a set of ethics whereby to judge the world around us. The perspective of those ethics enables us to judge our own behaviour and that of others, and to communicate about this perspective. Allowing morals into this judgement and communication often leads to tricky situations where typically one person is telling another that his/her ethics are inferior. As a social researcher it is crucial to avoid these situations. And also in generally as an individual it is important to be open-minded rather than moral. This does not mean we can not have strong ethics. It helps to keep these to entities separate in discussions about the world around us.

The second talk was a contribution to a panel session by Dick Rijken during the Culture 2.0 conference in Amsterdam (30 May 2007). Dick mentioned the distinction between quality and meaning. In a discussion on web 2.0 related phenomena, he objected to comments that focused on judgements of the quality of contributions people make on social community websites. Dick explained that he rather judges the meaning these contributions have for those people, than the quality other people tend to find in them. I find this a very helpful distinction, because often in public debates about popular culture, such as web 2.0 phenomena, one can get caught in a rather elitist perspective on the quality. According to Dick that is not quite the point, as long as it is meaningful for the people who are engaged in it.

How to not become (too) cynical

As design researchers at STBY we are dealing with lots of complex issues and data. We are diving into root causes, problem areas and, luckily, also…

Where do you live on Dollar Street?

Are you bamboozled by the daily pandemic statistics of your country? Or have you even tuned out? These numbers are designed to be super clear, and…

Beyond Human Centred Design

COVID19 has given the world the time to rest, and the opportunity for us to rethink the way we live. It has also revealed how inseparable we are with…

Let’s Talk Maps and Mapping

Interested in mapping services, ecosystems, stakeholders and beyond? Join us as we explore how other disciplines approach mapping and what we can take away as design researchers and service designers.

The Subspecies of Design Researcher

As a design research agency, STBY has worked with design researchers of many shapes and sizes. While the role of ‘design researcher’ becomes more common and recognised as a formal position in many different types of organisations, it’s worth reflecting on how we all work and the unique skills and attitudes needed in different settings.

GOOD is coming to London again!

As the founder and partner of REACH network, STBY is happy to announce that following on the success of previous related events around the world,…