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Ka mua, ka muri.

I travelled to Palmerston North to meet a customer of ours, a Māori organisation who have been doing some massively inspiring work in the social and health spaces. They are particulalrly interesting in how they are creating indigenous design principles, and in how they are leveaging technology to grow wellbeing for their community. Three related thoughts that have been swirling in my mind/heart -

  • Trust What do our customers TRUST us to do? What are the trust-building behaviours they expect from us? Do we have the same understanding of these behaviours as they do? Do we know what trust-depleting behaviours we are demonstrating?

  • Complexity Indigenous communities, faced with extreme social, cultural and financial challenges, understand complexity a lot more that my middle-class, 'designerly', privileged arse can ever hope to do. On my flight there and back, I was reading very interesting academic articles about leadership in complexity, and it struck me how, again, indigenous worldviews that were once considered quaint and ridiculous are actually the source of understanding that is now considered quite cutting edge. It wasn't contemporary 'Complexity Scientists' or designers who realised that everything is interconnected, it has been a key part of indigenous understandings for many thousands of years.

  • Relationality Everything is related. We cannot improve the user experience of our software without paying very close attention to how users of the software relate to the people in our organisation. We cannot improve communication with customers without improving how we communicate internally in our organisation.

As we try and (re)build trust with the folks that use our software, and keep Māori/indigenous design principles at the core of how we design, I am constantly reminded of how large, and deep, and creative the indigenous world is, and how much history and experience indigenous communities have in overcoming the challenges that get in the way of attaining their aspirations. Ka mua, ka muri.

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