Urgent Evoke

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Transparent Technologies: Our Collective Imagination - LEARN1

My favorite secret for social innovation: "Create “transparent” technologies, ones that are easily understood by the users, and promote local innovation."

A transparent technology (tool or solution) feels natural, makes sense because it works simply, and becomes an extension of the people it's designed to serve.

More importantly, people will make a transparent technology their own. They will shape it, make it better, and extend it beyond your imagination.

Design now with empathy, so that others may expand the boundaries in the future.


I just read Kamau Abayomi's post on the importance of providing skills, not just technologies, to help people be self sufficient.

If one is creating "transparent" technologies, I'd add that the solutions should be easy to modify. This allows people to adapt the solutions to their personal and local needs, and make the solutions better than you imagined. People should take ownership of the tools.

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Comment by Aidan Hally on May 4, 2010 at 1:55pm
Great stuff. Of course, in a world where technology is outstripping the general public's ability to understand it, these 'transparent' solutions are growing ever more needed.
Comment by Jean Frankly on May 4, 2010 at 2:08pm
Aidan, thanks for your comment.

Transparency in the form of product usability is coming along. Unfortunately, most companies lack the will to make technological solutions easy to modify as well. The public is treated as passive consumers and offered trivial choices (like colour and branding).
Comment by Samiran Roy on May 4, 2010 at 2:24pm
Good post.
Giving a transparent technology makes people wonder 'why didn't I think of that?'


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