Ethical Design in an Age of Rapid Innovation

Ethical Design in an Age of Rapid Innovation

By: Marisa White
01/29/2020

The infamous example featured in the recent documentary, The Inventor, the story of Elizabeth Holmes ambition in creating accessible healthcare results in disastrous ethical violations of the population’s health. As what happened in the Theranos take-down, Whistle Blowers are becoming a forefront of the citizen’s voice of protection in a series of ethical mishaps. However, should this be the case? What sort of measures are in place in to combat the ethical mishaps, even when intention may not be all that negative.

Universities have understood the impact of lack of ethical consideration in the students entering the market. Silicon Valley’s infamous rising reputation of “Act first, apologize later” to innovations population cannot be ignored as technology is affecting the well-being everyday consumers.

So how are organizations combatting ethical design? Many frameworks exist to begin the evaluation of ethical design and a myriad of thought leaders and emerging technology leaders speak to combat these pieces.

One includes Ind.ie  Aral Balkan and Laura Kalbag Hierarchy of Ethical Design created in vision of the Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to first begin to evaluate the principals of Ethical Design as the basis of the pyrmaid in any creation, before being able to successfully implement the human-delight and enjoyment pieces, essentially stating that without ethics at the base, the rest will crumble. [Click to see more on the Ethical Hierarchy of Needs]

Stanford on the other hand, integrates ethics into the innovation process by evaluating core frameworks around the process itself. The framework demands the definition of innovation includes core ethical considerations defining Innovaiton is: Humanistic, Non-Hierarchical, Participatory and Sustainable. [Click to see more on the Stanford Framework of Ethical Design]

Furthermore, as technology continues to evolve at a rapid rate, the considerations of ethics follow. You can find a myriad of frameworks specific to technology innovations including the ethical design of Block Chain, Connected Devices/IoT, Automation, and much more.

The moral of this story being, ethical design is not a feel-good, nice to have accessory in design. Ethical Design is a core component to creation of products and services that are sustainable, delightful, and meaningful.

Interested to hear more? Learn more in our Ethical Design Content Piece.