Daniel Harris

Differentiating with Design Activism


We’re in an incredible era of unprecedented technological opportunity where anything we can imagine can be built. As designers, we’re at the forefront of making this technology work for organisations.
The question is, are we pointing this power in a positive direction?

Welcome, generation i!. You are more likely to be depressed and mentally unwell than ever before!
Our digital culture compounds these generational challenges and the industry continues to treat digital like an exploitable asset. So what happens then as that asset becomes further and further a part of society. A part of our humanity?

At the same time this generation is valuing the part organisations have to play in improving communities and lives – not just with sponsorship or CSR programmes, but in the way they operate and serve. And it’s becoming part of big business. Some estimates suggest that 75% of the S&P 500 companies will not exist in 2027 – companies unable to respond to the rate of change in customer expectations of them.

In comes Design Activism; termed by Alistair Fuad-Luke as “design thinking, imagination and practice applied… to generate and balance positive social, institutional, environmental and/or economic change.

I’ll use stories and examples to show how UXers are increasingly empowered to build the world they want to see, with their client and organisational stakeholders with them all the way. In this new era, appetite, point of view, and passion become major ingredients for unleashing the power of UX and design into a new realm of influence.

About Daniel

I am a Designer, obsessed with how people connect with the world through the design of things that wrap around them. I have a strong belief in the power of collaboration to design products and services that sustainably connect in a meaningful way to the irrationalities of the human context.

My mission is to improve society through design. I believe that by employing society-led design, businesses can create sustainable, powerful differentiation in how they connect to their employees and customers.

My expertise is Service Design. This design umbrella term, discipline in it own right, and experience-oriented lens on innovation, is becoming a major factor in clients contexts, where touchpoints are ubiquitous, and power has shifted to the side of the customer.

I value prototyping, pace, and learning by doing and failing because the answer is more of a mystery than ever and options need to be considered and culled quickly. And this can apply to any scale of design challenge – from prototyping a feature to prototyping an entire business through entrepreneurial and creative MVP thinking.