design for people not awards

TED Talk: Design for People, Not Awards

Today, I’m talking about a TED talk called ‘Design for People, Not Awards’

Timothy Prestero happens to be CEO of Design that Matters, a non-profit organisation that works with social entrepreneurs and volunteers to design products for the poor in developing countries.

Watching Timothy Prestero talk about designing for outcomes and not for attractiveness, inspiration or flashiness, for example, was truly inspiring.

Designing for inspiration can be either too slow, doesn’t work or it’s ineffective.

Instead, Tim says we should be designing things that change outcomes to make a real impact on the world.

Tim and his team developed the NeoNurture Infant Incubator, named as one of TIME Magazine’s “50 Best Inventions of 2010″. However, it didn’t work for hospitals in the developing world. Rather than be bummed out about this or just accept the praise and move on, Tim decided to go one better and design a product to help people and change real outcomes.

“There’s no such thing as a dumb user… There are only dumb products.” (Timothy Prestero)

Designing for Outcomes to Fix Real-World Problems

He highlights some facts about the problems surrounding newborn health in the developing world.

Four million babies around the world, mostly in developing countries, die every year before their first birthday, even before their first month of life.

It turns out half of those kids, or about 1.8 million newborns around the world, would make it if you could just keep them warm for the first three days, maybe the first week.

They went on to develop Firefly Phototherapy Device to help babies with jaundice in the developing world. It is designed to change outcomes, to make a difference to the world. That, as Tim says, is the kind of design that matters.

Hope you enjoyed watching Tim’s talk. It’s a good one.

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