Designers involvement in how tech is built for humans is directly linked to its success. So what is it about Open Source Software that hasn’t caught on yet?
Open Source Design has a plethora of hurdles to leap before it could become fully adopted by organisations as well as the community of practice: Exploitative work-for-free attitudes. Scary developer-style workflows. How design roles connect up through a product life cycle. How our tools –and mindset– doesn’t yet allow for transparent, robust collaboration across a global, highly diverse and remote group of designers (https://opendesign.ushahidi.com/how-project-owners-and-managers-can-encourage-designer-contributions-to-oss/). Given that many designers want to work on projects that do good, why are we still keeping ourselves from unfolding our full potential?
Ushahidi (https://www.ushahidi.com/) builds humanitarian tools, remotely, for some of the most marginalised people on our planet. To tackle the systemic problems with how to open source a design effort and bring the community along with Ushahidi’s product team, the non profit has partnered with Designit and Adobe on the Open Design project (https://opendesign.ushahidi.com/design-should-be-open-for-all/). Together, we are looking to unlock open source design for everyone, by analysing what is going well and the challenges of the past, by curating guidance what should be improved in the future, and by piloting and proposing concrete practices for establishing organisational culture, team dynamics and redesigned tools and processes that makes a difference in the world.