Giving and Receiving Feedback
Feedback is an essential aspect of the innovation process. Gathering feedback from your stakeholders allows you to continue generating ideas that center those most impacted by your issue and those who will implement your idea. Integrating feedback refines your idea until it is something that can create innovative and disruptive change.
What This Means for Social Justice Activists & Designers
Social Justice Activists Social justice activists build strong relationships with communities and stakeholders in their movements. Even as many activists come from or identify with communities that are the most impacted, it is important to systematically solicit feedback on ideas as they are developed. While engaging the community in cycles of feedback can slow the process down, without it there is the danger of designing and generating ideas that don’t meet the needs of communities and stakeholders. Feedback invites others into a co-creative process, strengthens relationships and the ownership of ideas, and centers the needs of the stakeholders. It can also challenge activists to not hold their ideas too tightly and get attached to doing things their way. Systemic change requires broad-based buy-in and ownership, especially of disruptive ideas, and regular and systematic feedback is one way of ensuring commitment and impact.
Designers Social designers are familiar with needing to fail fast to learn fast and understand the danger of becoming attached to a single idea. However, they are often unaware of the sociohistorical context of systemic issues because they are usually not affected by the issue. It is important for designers to invite the people most impacted by an issue to participate in the process by gathering feedback from them often and systematically. By gathering feedback from stakeholders, they are inviting those most impacted into a co-design process and decentering the dominant culture habits of paternalism and saviorism.