A recent discussion about believers in the “flat earth” movement led me to compare a phenomenon I have come across one – too – many – times over the past couple of years in design research, false consensus effect from which we create  our own “self fulfilling prophecies”.

Before I launch into what might read like a biased attack, this observation is based on multiple interactions as a design researcher, service designer and project participant on enterprise, community, independent SMEs and voluntary experience. A design practitioner very much ‘in the world’.

I am an avid follower and listener of ThisisHCD podcasts, thankfully a light in an otherwise murky environment. While the conversations covered, embrace phenomenology, speculative design and human centered design, in practice, public service, organisations and business models still hold a capitalist ideology at the centre, not so much the people they serve. (Ireland)

Recently I sat in a room where a group I worked with on transforming the future of the organisation, steered the non – diverse participants ‘within the room’ to agree on an agenda from which they had tried initially to evolve through research. They came back to the familiar structure with the introduction of a capitalist driver in the area, aspirational. (This exposed complicit exclusion of a sub – group)

In another scenario there were multiple stakeholders ‘co – creating’ from the experiences of others and shoe – horning data to fit the deliverable. Compartmentalising each area of human life experience into neat lots of separate data, people at the centre?  There is still potential here for growth of trust and on – boarding of a more diverse selection of participants for authenticity of research into outcomes and artefacts.

Suggestions, as before on inclusion and bringing morHelen Keller picture quotee voices to the table were not popular, results show the rhetoric on empathy, inclusion, diversity and accessibility will only find a voice with accountability through EU law and advocacy. European Disability Act Analysis

So “Flat – Earth” ? this is total denial of the facts, research information and experience of people immersed in the world, while the antagonists crave attention, belonging and as long as we all agree it is, why change?