Liveblogging: SXSW Keynote: Valerie Casey

I'm sitting here in Exhibit Hall 1 waiting for the keynote to begin. I will be liveblogging/paraphrasing what is discussed (please excuse the inevitable typos). Bio from the SXSW&nbs...
Liveblogging: SXSW Keynote: Valerie Casey
Written by Chris Crum
  • I’m sitting here in Exhibit Hall 1 waiting for the keynote to begin. I will be liveblogging/paraphrasing what is discussed (please excuse the inevitable typos).

    Bio from the SXSW Booklet: Valerie Casey works with start-ups, governments, and companies all over the world on challenges ranging from creating new products and services to transforming organizational processes and behaviors….She is the founder and executive director of Designers Accord.

    Liveblogging starts:

    2:05: Introduction begins…

    2:07: Delighted to be here…..despite the fact the interactive community has been absent in conversation about sustainability…the commuinty will take the greatest leadership role moving forward…


    I find that a lot of the interaction designers are fixated on narrative and story telling ….you can take any story from film/literature/politics…and plot them on the axis of good fortune/ill fortune and time from beginnign to end

    03:11: You can take any story from test to John Grishm, or Jennife Anniston…

    Shows three different graphs.

    Things you see in the news all the time – heart wrenchign pictures: child sitting in ewaste dumps

    gives stats about these stories…horrific

    Shows image of baby albatross, taken on midway where albatross mate…the finding of these babies…nothing has been done to them….the mothers were flyign out around the ocean to find food for their babies, and they mistook pieces of plastic for food and fed them to their children…grotesque…perverse to think about the effect we’re having on bio diversity…

    political corruption….

    Why does a salad cost more than a big mac (slide)

    it’s because the usda – the food triangle supports one version of a recomendatino and the government does somthing entirely different…millions of dollrs through lobbyists going to meat and dairy….out of control agricultural indsutry…

    Bizarre corruption between health and politics…

    Burn pits in Iraq/Afghanistan….set up by gov. contractors like haliburton..

    02:28: Shows picture of Haiti devastation – scientists linking natural disasters with climate change…

    Talks about more political corruption….snowballing effect of sustainability

    What are we supposed to do with all of that? "It turns out you don’t have to kill yourself."

    Designers Accord to respond to doom and gloom…

    bringing the creative community together, we can look at sustainability …bring optimism…there’s no one of us that can make real change by ourselves.we have to depend on collective wisdom.

    personal accountability to colletive accountability.

    Share my stories about not only my successes. industry ishellbent on successes….talk also about failurs nd compromises…thats what collective action is about.

    Not just  a digital network….we have town hall meetings….i want the ability to ask questions…

    Each week in case studies in fast company – tell the story of sustainaiblity…not about a checklist its about a constant struggle…

    try to educate product/interaction/communiation designers, and architects…

    School by Design initiative (open source)

    try to think about taking sustainabilit out of ghetttoized….

    639 design firm adopters, 33 educational adopters, 32 corporate adopters, 100 countries, six continents, all design disciplines

    despite fact that media still talks about sustainabiliy in very green terms…

    the truth is that the converstions become much more complex and interesting….

    someties miss the point.

    even if you’re in the interactive community…

    02:26:  We have to recognize that there’s a consequence for everything we do.

    I believe its the interactive community thats going to lead this movement next. thinking about systems problems

    A system is more than the sum of its parts.

    02:30: We cannot just focus on one part…it has to do with environmental, cultural, economic, etc.

    Feedback delays plus bounded rationality equals design traps

    Bounded rationality – i can only make decisions based on the knowledge right in front of me. barely looks at other groups or teams.. a design trap is when you design for the symptom rather than the problem – looks at dell studio hybrid. – I am a supporter of what dell is trying to do, but it’s a classic case. misses the point that we should not be designing another desktop computer…when will we stop thinking that less bad is good.

    There is no such thing as a side effect.

    Sometimes we arbitrarilly design what we’re resposnible for…global taco shed – students went to a taco truck and decided that each one of them would be responsible for tracing origin of ingredients..all for one taco had traveled over sixty four thousand miles….there’s this underlying movement that says local is better. global is bad….but what these students did is also discover that salt and cheese were local, avocados were from chile…they combatted the idea of the polarity between global and local by looking at embodied energy in each ingredient. they learned a lot when comparing them.

    02:36 Creating the right measurement of success

    The Gross National Product 

    U.S. indicator of prosperity – but that indicator has nothing to do with health and wll being  and relationships. out of sync…all sorts of inconsistencies

     02:40 Selecting the correct lever for change

    IN systems thinkng – people identify the wrong thing to change when theyr’e trying to change something.

    mythology is all about lone inventor and silver bullet – they don’t really exist….we continue that mythology and we need to change the rhetoric we use…

    Talks about Naked Pizza…

    02:44 The priority is to use the scale of concept to tackle people on their own turf…

    what is the lever we use? the counter-intuitive one ?

    Enabling new models by recognizing the relationship between structure and behavior…

    She says she’ll tweet references for all the stuff she’s talking about….probably a good idea to check those out if you’re interested….(to understand her points better)

    02:47 No difference between a structure and the behavior that comes from it. when a new president comes in and you have all these hopes for change, and nothign really changes…its because the structure hasn’t really changed

    02:48: Talks about HUB…

    02:49 Issue – attention cycle : degree of awareness is inversely correlated to the degree of productive action

    Rising of public awareness about a problem…when the public starts to get greata attention around an issue, there’s actually a point where the degree of product action is inversely correlated…

    When you get a couple of hundred thousand people interested in a topic it has a tranquilzing effect…people think i don’t need to do anything because there’s already so many people doing it…

    people believe someone else is looking after it.

    A system is a collection of elements and interconnections that ar e highly organized to achieve an overall goal or purpose

    if you change the purpose of a system you can effect change….

    the interactive community is the one to do it we are architects and product designers and communicators all wrapped into one.

    How can we change the narrative? What would happe if your purpose was oriented toward cultural sustainability instead of commerce? 

    What if social media was actually about social impact?

    The interactive community is the connecting tissue…

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