Hi! I'm Sandra Camacho (aka Sandra By Design)

How reflexivity opens doors to more equitable outcomes in design

Published 3 months ago • 2 min read

Digest #6

How reflexivity opens doors to more equitable outcomes in design

November 29, 2023 | Read in your browser

In this week's digest, we're explore the topic of reflexivity, building upon what we covered in last week's digest.

You may be asking yourself, reflexi-what?

I define reflexivity as bringing in a layer of critical reflection and systems thinking to your design and research work.

In the simplest of terms, think of it as a set of keys.

These keys will help you open doors to more nuanced understanding of repeated patterns in our beliefs, behaviors and decisions that lead us to inequitable outcomes.

And they'll help reveal interconnected passageways that exist between you, your organization and systems around you, such as systems of power and privilege.

Reflexivity can help lead us to more equitable outcomes because it challenges us to analyze, question and course-correct our way there.

Reflexivity in practice

Let's took at one example — say you're looking to design for more diverse users. You decide to use Cards of Humanity, built by Frog Design.

The cards are well-intentioned — they're built to help you imagine needs and pain points of a wider variety of users with "person" and "trait" cards.

But they are presented without sociocultural context or any guidance or critical reflection on their use. They lead us to "guess" what marginalized and underserved folks needs based on limited information. They simplify complex people and lived experiences down into 2-3 generalized sentences.

While they can serve as an entry point to thinking about exclusion, we can't simply "brainstorm" our way to equitable outcomes. We have to make sense of the interconnected patterns and systems that give rise to inequitable outcomes. And we must engage in meaningful ways with the communities most impacted by inequity.

Building your reflexivity skills

I've built a mindset, behavioral and systems change framework — called The Reflexive Compass — to help you activate reflexivity in your work.

It unpacks reflexivity into three "directions" of a compass to guide you in changemaking: discernment, accountability and engagement.

If you wish to learn how to put reflexivity (and this framework) into practice, I welcome you to join me in the Design Changemaking Accelerator.

This is a 5-week online group course starting on January 22, 2024 that will help you develop mindsets, methods and practices around designing for equity, justice, inclusion and positive change.

It's the embodiment of my 13+ years of hands-on practice and experience working with design practitioners around the world. And it's designed with equity, inclusion and accessibility in mind. Dive into the Program Overview for more details on what you can expect.

Want to learn more?
Join me for an info session next Tuesday, December 5th where I'll walk you through the program, provide an early look at the materials and answer your questions. Sign up below!

See you soon!

Sandra By Design

Who am I? I'm Sandra Camacho (she/her), an independent inclusive & equitable design strategist and educator working under the alias Sandra By Design. I'm also the founder of Design Changemakers and the Inclusive Design Jam.

About this newsletter: You're receiving this email because you subscribed to my Design Changemakers Digest. Every week (or so), I share insights, tips and resources on designing for equity, inclusion and justice and activating change. You'll also get news on learning opportunities in the Design Changemakers platform.

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30 North Gould Street Suite N, Sheridan, WY 82801

Hi! I'm Sandra Camacho (aka Sandra By Design)

I write about designing for inclusion, equity and justice, covering strategy, culture, mindset, practices and day-to-day behaviors.

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