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Abstract graphic for the post Lost in Transformation

Portrait of Ludwig Rensch
Ludwig Rensch


Lost in Transformation

As digitization changes the way we live we change our ideas of what is desirable, useful, and aligns with our values. Purely customer-centric thinking suddenly seems narcissistic. All of the products, ideas, and concepts that are produced in a particular zeitgeist must be thought of holistically. Thus they should be good for the individual, society, and the planet.
„A return to normal is just not going to happen.”
Jack Thackara in 'How to Thrive in the Next Economy'

The social consciousness has changed and there is no going back. The networked world has created a new form of self-reference and a new orientation for the individual in an enlightened society. People long for more autonomy, a clear conscience, health, freedom and time. I want these values to be reflected in the things that surround us.

„Technology is neither good nor bad; nor is it neutral.”
Melvin Kranzberg’s First Law of Technology

Currently the sentiment is divided. The challenge lies between the belief that with artificial intelligence anything is possible and the critical grumble that the term triggers in the middle of society: if we want to use the possibilities of modern technologies, we must also answer the urgent questions of an ethical and ecological nature.

While the Internet of Things and ubiquitous computing acted as a conceptual playground a few years ago, we now have a taste of what this smart, new world feels like. The many successive waves of innovation and the hype around sheer transformation have made the smart-product world extremely complicated. This complexity has in turn led to a desire for simplicity and tranquility in society - as well as in products.

  • Digital Well-Being, Slow Culture and Awareness: A reaction to the permanent stimulus overload and the media culture of arousal.
  • Trust Technology to rebuild the trust that was lost in a very short time by the hunger of the data leeches.
  • Green Tech and Post Growth Economics, because many people are concerned about their own consumption patterns and long for greater independence from economic growth.

An awareness is emerging that work, culture, social affairs, consumption, and sustainability cannot be considered separately. Everything is connected in a long chain of effects, even if the exact connections can no longer be identified. What is good for the individual may not be good for everyone. In the vein of this reconsideration, we must expand the concept of User-Centered Design. New needs such as sustainability and fairness must be integrated into this concept. This is how user-centered design gradually becomes life-centered design.

„Ecological initiatives will only prosper in the real world if they work as viable economic models. And business models based on wearing down our natural resources are not viable models for long term growth.”
Bjarke Ingels, Yes Is More

As the Danish architect Bjarke Ingels points out in his book "Yes Is More", in the long run only the products and services that will be able to prevail will be both sustainable and economical. In order to meet the challenges of our time we need a multi-perspective approach that promotes contextual thinking.

Digitization is a result of human inventiveness. It has the ability to permeate and abstract the world around us, and to synthesize it into something new. In order not to lose ourselves in this newly created complex world, we need to use our compass of values for what is desirable and meaningful and embark on our exploration.

We create tools that enable people to create a world in which they want to live in. This is how we don't get lost in transformation. We need to remain capable of action and actively shape the world for the better.

„To make the world work for 100% of humanity in the shortest possible time through spontaneous cooperation without ecological offense or the disadvantage of anyone.”
R. Buckminster Fuller