TedTalk – Timothy Prestero: Design for people, not awards


Title and Link: Design for people, not awards

Presenter: Timothy Prestero is the CEO of Design That Matters.

I watched this really great TedTalk today about exactly my topic… Design for Developing Countries.

Key Points – I think the part I enjoyed most was referring to users as a constellation, because it really is like that. There’s tons of people to consider, and some are bigger and more important than other… and some cluster together in little groups while others are not part of the same group at all.

He also mentions that every successful product needs to consider who will “choose, use, and pay the dues” for the product. This is SO important. I think often people only consider maybe 2 of these groups… They make it beautiful so it will be bought and win awards but it doesn’t really work. Or it will totally consider the needs of the user, but it won’t consider who will fund it. In traditional design the consumer usually pays for the product, as well as choosing it (depending on the scenario) and definitely using it… but when a product is going to be donated to a hospital, or dispensed free to homes this situation changes dramatically and our considerations must as well.

Also, he talks about what he wants to do… he wants to change the world (just like me!) and therefore, he has to think about production and manufacture… I know, not my favourite subject, but he’s right. If you haven’t considered everything you’re not really helping the end user, because when it break in 6 months that’s no good. Maybe that’s why designers work on a team, so somebody else can think more about motors and engines and venting… and I can think more about the people and interaction….

Also, there are no dumb users. Something I learned a long time ago but it’s sometimes forgotten in the process so it’s definitely good to keep in mind.


About Amanda

Hi, I’m Amanda! Originally from Ottawa, Canada, I am currently living with my partner (Steve) in Sucre, Bolivia for the next year. I work in the unique space between industrial design and international development – but what does that even mean? I’m passionate about working WITH marginalized communities in a way that utilizes design to improve the lives of different types of people around the world. I have worked, studied, traveled, and researched on every continent (except Antarctica), and most recently I lived in Ghana, Bangladesh and Nepal. I love exploring new cultures and learning more about myself along the way.
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