Issue 20

Richard Pope Ensuring a more open society in the digital age by putting power back in the hands of citizens and consumers.

Amber Case The Calm Tech pioneer offers a more elegant, humane, and unobtrusive approach to designing technology.

Aza Raskin Guarding the sanctity of the human mind: can we regain our attention and keep our grasp on what’s real?

Tricia Wang Big Data needs Thick Data: an ethnographer’s call to fight quantification bias and make the unmeasurable visible.

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  • Richard Pope
  • Amber Case
  • Aza Raskin
  • Tricia Wang

“There should be a way that society can trust that if something goes wrong, it’s possible to inspect the code.”

Richard Pope
Designer, Digital Strategy Consultant

‘Software is politics.’ Richard Pope strongly believes that digital products and services directly affect how power is distributed. That’s why he has dedicated much of his life to helping create a more open society that works in the digital age. It’s a thread running through his career: first as an integral part of the UK’s Government Digital Service and later at Projects by IF, where he showed organisations how to navigate a sea of regulatory and ethical challenges and build trust around private data. He recently announced his departure from IF, and his move to the Harvard Kennedy School as a Senior Fellow. Because of his deep insights into the public and private sectors, Richard has become a respected advocate for more transparency and accountability in both spheres, encouraging an open discussion about what sort of society we really want to live in.

“The most interesting people are calm and collected. They understand the long-term versus the short-term, and they build things slowly. The real world takes a long time.”

Amber Case
Design Researcher, Author

In her writings, research, and dynamic online presence, self-described ‘cyborg anthropologist’ and UX-designer Amber Case examines how our relationship with information changes the way we under- stand our world. Through her pioneering work in ‘Calm Tech’, the fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Klein Center explores ways we can protect our attention and recapture our sense of purpose and identity. Finding inspiration in that calmness, Amber is carrying on a family tradition – both her father and grandfather worked on early AI – as she seeks ways to design a balance where technology and humanity are both at their best.

“We are dealing with a world where our technologies are becoming exponentially more powerful, and in order to control those we need to become exponentially more wise.”

Aza Raskin
Artist, Design Thinker

It’s hard to resist using the word ‘polymath’ when it comes to Aza Raskin. He’s a physicist, musician, artist, and designer who has left his own undeniable imprint on the web. Aza amplifies his father’s seminal work on human-computer interaction – scaling it up for our now and for our future to address how society interacts with the technology we’ve unlocked and unleashed. Aza is a rare amalgam of creative inspiration and intellectual innovation, with the uncanny ability to integrate his multiple interests and disciplines into one original, unified thread. In a wide-ranging and fascinating conversation, Aza talks about the humane ways we can take on our future, reframe our problems, and look for solutions beyond the limits of the possible.

“People struggle to see beyond their own immediate perspective – what I call ‘horizon deficiency.’ Companies would only see the world from their business perspective, never from a human one.”

Tricia Wang
Tech Ethnographer, Entrepreneur

Observing what we do. What we use. How we live. Tricia Wang knows that in collecting ‘thick data’ about our human behaviour, she can give voice to the individual. Beginning with her work at Nokia, the global tech ethnographer saw that the corporate world’s obsession with big data meant it was ignoring the priceless insights that can be gained from translating business questions into human questions. Tricia’s mission is to build empathy for people – be they neighbours, or consumers – and help companies become truly customer-centric by prioritising on a human-scale approach. And through her consultancy, Magpie Kingdom, Tricia seeks to shed light on the unfathomable speed at which the digital revolution has brought sweeping change to China.

Take a break from your screen. Be inspired by thoughtful conversations in beautiful print.

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Table of contents

Stranger Things
Food for thought by Molly Flatt.

The Framing of a Now-Moment
Food for thought by Alex Warren.

A collection of projects and ideas worth exploring, curated by Kai Brach.

Richard Pope, the designer and advocate with a vision for governments and companies that encourage an open, participatory society.

A Day With
Spend a day with Sara Soueidan.

A Day With
Spend a day with Álvaro Vargas.

Amber Case, the researcher and author analyses how individuals and cultures think, act, and thrive in a tech-driven world..

Rules of Business
Guiding principles for doing business, by Lina Patel.

A collection of useful and beautiful office products, curated by Kai Brach.

Aza Raskin, the design thinker on how society’s interaction with technology is the fundamental problem of our time.

Sean McGeady speaks to Anne Kjær Riechert, co-founder of the ReDI School for Digital Integration, a Berlin-based non-profit that helps refugees learn tech skills and start a new career.

A tour around the offices of Headspace, Mozilla, Slack, TRA, and WIX.

Tricia Wang, the global tech ethnographer offers a human-scale model for organisations obsessed with data.

Ten Things I’ve Learned
Ashanya Indralingam and Ramsey Nasser share ten life lessons from working on the web.

Looking back
With close to 90,000 copies shipped, featuring stories by more than 800 contributors, supported by 50 sponsors, hundreds of patrons, and thousands of loyal readers in over 60 countries, we check in with the 100 interviewees from past issues to find out what they are up to today.

Issue 20 is kindly supported by