What’s Design Got to Do with
the World Financial Crisis?
firstname.lastname@example.org | Kaizor Innovation
It’s a common perception that
if you want to make money, you
shouldn’t become a designer.
Instead, head toward investment
banking, where annual bonuses
are in the millions, certainly
more than any designer—or doctor—will make in a lifetime.
However, since late 2008
we’ve seen this world order turn
upside down, with major banks
collapsing, giant corporations
desperately seeking government
bailout, and investment bankers by the tens of thousands
losing their lucrative jobs. It
seems those once high-flying
financial careers have almost
vanished overnight. For the
past six months, we’ve listened
to political leaders around the
world argue the need to overhaul
their respective financial infrastructures. In such a paradigm-shifting environment, what is
the changing role of design?
It would seem almost a bit
pointless to talk about user product experiences in the midst of
this world financial crisis, with
legions of people concerned
about jobs and livelihoods. Who
cares about usability when no
one wants to spend a dime?
So, let’s talk about design on a
At the time of this writing, the
financial crisis had already evap-
orated a total of US$13 trillion in
housing and stock market losses;
an amount almost equivalent to
the nation’s GDP of $13.8 trillion.
In other words, whatever revenue the U.S. reaped in the past
year was flushed away—a true
“weapon of mass destruction.”
And the story is not yet over.
Surely you’ve wondered
just how we wound up in this
state of affairs. Why did leading financial institutions like
Lehman Brothers, Bear Stearns,
and Washington Mutual collapse? Why are major players
like GM, Ford, Chrysler, Fannie
Mae, AIG, and Freddie Mac facing bankruptcy and in need of