Design Thinking, with Michael Maness

Social media allows people to share their stories. For example, Twitter users are 4x more likely to share information on any social site than non-Twitter users. The platform enables distribution. Big media finds it, filters it, and curates it.

Michael Manness, Vice President for Journalism and Media Initiatives at Knight Foundation, suggests that design thinking will make these social platforms more robust and human centered.

Good design adds credibility to online activity. Infographics are 30 times more likely to be shared than traditional text. Multimedia components of press releases create longer sustained engagement than text-only versions. Data visualization connects text and visual representation.

Given these trends, the implementation of design thinking can help us address issues of humanity:

  • Design thinking requires that designers pay attention to humans. For example, we can often find unmet needs and compensating behaviors that can inspire design.
  • Design thinking allows designers to uncover needs and real issues. Even though design can hide flaws, the design process exposes them.
  • Human-centered innovation requires us to inform, inspire, iterate, and innovate (via Change By Design). By thinking about our work as a design, we can remove the stigma of “sacred cows” and legacy infrastructure. Everything can be assessed together.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation’s 2012 Media Learning Seminar in Miami Florida brought together leaders of community foundations, media professionals, technology entrepreneurs, researchers, educators, and foundation staff in the foundation’s quest for informed and engaged communities. I attended as a representative of the James L. Knight School of Communication at Queens University of Charlotte, a grantee of Knight Foundation. Read my articles on the conference here.

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