Poor People Are Not Your Guinea Pigs: The Dark Side of Design Thinking Education

By Kriss Deiglmeier

Introduction

Design thinking is hot.  This methodology for human-centered innovation has changed the world as we know it, shaping the forms and functions of everything from the toothbrushes on our countertops to mobile banking in developing economies. It’s an approach that puts the user front and center, and is a positive force in the way things are created and systems are designed.

But using vulnerable or underserved people as guinea pigs for design thinking education is not.  In...