Saturday, September 22, 2007

The responses to the Declaration

When I posted The Declaration of Boston back at the end of August, I was pleased to hear that most folks were planning on posting a paper copy in their office to start conversations. Gus actually posted a colleague's responses on his blog. But many of the comments I heard were interesting, having to do with how to define various terms such as "the welfare of the community" or "conscience" or "aesthetic delight" and so on. Clearly, reasonable people will differ on the nature of what supports the welfare of the community -- that's why we have Democrats and Republicans. The key, I think, is that a declaration such as this makes us take responsibility for a) thinking about these things, and b) being able to make the case for why your design solution furthers these goals. Most of the time, we design without thinking about these ethical outcomes; all that means is that our work STILL has ethical outcomes, just unintended ones. I have to believe that if you take these concerns seriously, I'll benefit from your work even if I don't agree with your definitions -- and if you don't take them seriously, I'm more likely to be hindered or diminished by your work.