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The School for Social Design

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Apply here. πŸ‘‰It costs $2000. Your money back if you don't love your first quest. πŸ‘‰You canΒ email us with questions. (Sorry, we can't do scholarships / discounts any time soon.)

Our school isn't designed to teach you anything. Instead, it's going to give you a team.

Becoming highly skilled in social design takes too long. We want you to start right away! So, we aim to give you a crew. A crew that, together, can apply the Human Systems methods in whatever domain you wish.

To find your crew, you will go on three quests.

This school is for designers of social systems: systems made of people, where there are codified and mutually understood roles and responsibilities. These designs can range from dinner table conversation games to social networks and global governance structures.



🌳 First Quest β€”Β Values Articulation

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To complete this quest: You will lead a discussion about values amongst a small group that matters to youβ€”perhaps your family or colleagues. This is a lot harder than it sounds, because we mean something very specific and nerdy by values.
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Why is this important? Personal values are the raw materials for the design techniques we teach. Whereas other design methods focus on users' goals (Jobs to Be Done), feelings ("calm" design, "delightful" interactions, and most experience design), or life situation (Personas), our methods focus on values, and we measure success by whether we can create environments where users are more able to live by their values.

Sub-quests

Before you're ready to complete this quest, you'll do various preparatory work and meet your teammates. You will...

πŸ”¬ Second Quest β€”Β Critique Existing Designs

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To complete this quest: You will critique at least two designs by other people. You'll listen to someone's design idea and name (1) values at risk, (2) hard steps of living by a value they haven't though of, and (3) perverse incentives caused by their design. You'll visit a functioning social system (such as a church, a school, a workplace, or a public service) and write out the suppressed values there, and what would need to change for participants to live by those values.
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Why is this important? On this quest, you will learn to critique other people's designs for problems with hard steps and perverse incentives. Hard steps. Before you can do values-based designs, you need to understand why it is sometimes hard for users to live by their values in one space or another. Why is it easier to be reflective in a monastery than a cocktail party? Why is it often easier to be honest with a close friend than an employer?

Sub-quests

Before you're ready to complete this quest, you'll do various preparatory work and meet your teammates. You will...

  • tag along on someone else's visit to a functioning social system (such as a church, a school, a workplace, or a public service) and write out the suppressed values there.
  • attend the "Social Design: Beat the Experts" (🎨Social Design Club) weekly event, and try to make waves with your critiques.
  • collect critiques from other people

Elements of Critique

Values-at-Risk. What values might be harder to live by inside this design?

Neglected Player Types. Who might this design not work for?

Neglected Hard Steps. The designer wants to help people live a certain way. What is a hard step of living that way, that's still hard, even in this design?

Perverse incentives - Are there incentives to lie, to conspire, etc?

🎨 Third Quest β€”Β Values-Based Social Redesign

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To complete this quest: You will make rituals, games, group practices, organizational policies, institutions, or social technologies around values that are important to your community but lack space for full expression, and you will redesign systems (workplaces, schools, family structures, social apps, etc) so as to better support meaningful living, interaction, and work.

Sub-quests

Before you're ready to complete this quest, you'll do various preparatory work and meet your teammates. You will...

  • assist others with their redesigns
  • invent values-based games for people who need them online
  • lead a space jam design session around a value and space you care about
  • attend the "Social Design: Beat the Experts" (🎨Social Design Club) weekly event, and present new design ideas based on structural features the presenter hasn't considered

Use Your Team

What we teach can take several years to master. But we hope to get you to the point where you can do values-based redesigns much quicker, by giving you people to work with as you continue to refine your own skills. We hope that, when you finish quest 3, you'll feel capable of applying the Human Systems methods in many areas of your life and work.

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Apply here. πŸ‘‰It costs $2000. Your money back if you don't love your first quest. (Sorry, we won't be able to do scholarships or discounts within the next six months.) πŸ‘‰You canΒ email us with questions.

...or read more

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This is the third major version of the Human Systems training. Earlier versions have trained 300+ well-positioned product people in our design methods and metrics. Our alumni have applied our methods at Facebook, Github and Apple; they've changed product direction at startups, and redesigned smaller systems like schools, co-living settlements, and families.
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More about the curriculum β€’ FAQ: πŸ™‹FAQ β€’ Textbook: 🌳Redesigning Social Systems: The HS Textbook

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