I’m traveling back from Lyon, where I had the opportunity to participate in Interaction 18. It was an inspiring conference, with many presentations devoted to exploring how designers can help make the world better by being more conscious of the systems they participate in and create. I summarized my impressions in a tweet:

The key word here is agency.

Design is central to envisioning future directions; it’s how the possible is made tangible so it can be tested and refined. As such, designers can make real contributions towards shaping the way things work, even if we don’t have direct control over things like project budgets.

Designers don’t need absolute power to make a difference — but we do need a principled approach. Interaction 18 showcased the words and works of designers who are making a difference through their principled approaches. I leave the conference with renewed hope for the future.