The COVID effect: Webinars, Virtual keynotes…

With the cascading cancellations and postponement of talks due to COVID, some organizations are rising to the challenge and leveraging on webinars to continue the conversation. I took part in a webinar panel discussion organized by DesignUP to discuss the future of design, remote working, re-skilling, ethics and responsible design by delving deeper into their Deconstruct Report.

It was interesting to be speaking with design leaders such as Jamie Myrold, VP of Design at Adobe, Anjali Desai, Design Leader and Coach, Intuit, Surya Vanka, Founder and Chief Designer, Authentic, Abhijit Thosar, Product Strategy & Design Leader at VMware, and Brenda Sanderson, CGD Executive Director IxDA. I noticed a couple of orientations when speaking with designers – the conversation on failure is still focused on the designer and not on who pays for the cost of failure – aka, the user. We spoke about what kind of metrics should be used to gauge impact and how that should be beyond just the bottom line – we need to incorporate sustainable practice for instance as a parallel bottom line. Lots of these interesting snippets have been captured in this conversation that has been recorded for those interested and accessible via their website.


I also gave a keynote on privacy by design for the next billion for The 11th International Development Informatics Association conference (IDIA2020) organized by the United Nations University Institute on Computing and Society under the theme “The more things change …” I spoke about how the COVID times have re-configured the notions of surveillance and privacy as we face unprecedented and draconian measures in terms of trade-offs to survive and get through this, especially for the vast informal sector in the global south.

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