Getting In Step?

#688/231: Exiting the Echo Chamber // Yoke...

Getting In Step?
Image by David Greaves

Exiting the Echo Chamber

Yoke. This has been my favorite words for the past several years. My designer side strives for clear, well-considered intention, process and action. My entrepreneurial drive is more reckless. Pursuing a new undertaking, as I'm currently doing, requires impulse and discipline side-by-side. Too much of one or the other, and everything can go sideways or grind to a halt. Yoke is different from combining in that the composition of the elements aren't changed but rather aligned. My appreciation for the profundity of this simple concept has never been more profound as I constantly witness various pendulums of power and influence swing from one polarity to another. For example, the shift from over relying on governmental "wisdom" to centering "community knowledge" when addressing neighborhood issues. Those closest to the problem are best equipped to solve it has become a popular, and fundamentally false mantra in the social impact sphere. There is an endless stream of daily challenges with which I am intimately familiar but have no clue how to address. However, as user-centered designers know, innovative breakthroughs can occur when spheres are yoked. From overhead bins on airplanes to heated seats in cars, examples of innovation deeply informed by user experience abound in the private sector. It doesn't happen nearly enough on public-sector issues where one polarity or another tends to dominate, and communities and governmental bodies subsequently endure the consequences.


Peter Nicholson

Peter Nicholson

Peter is a writer, multidisciplinary creative, and entrepreneur who founded Circa 250; Foresight Design Initiative, a sustainability-focused innovation consultancy; and Yoga Horizons, a yoga studio.

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