Design Hacking: Resourceful Innovation and Sustainable Self-Reliance by Scott Burnham

“Exceedingly well written and comprehensive.”

– Core77

In 2010, the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) London commissioned me to write Finding the Truth in Systems: In Praise of Design Hacking.

The publication now exists as Design Hacking: Resourceful Innovation and Sustainable Self-Reliance is available on Amazon US, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, and Japan.

Design hacking is the resourcefulness of the individual stepping in when the products and systems we are offered fall short.

In the text I explore ways in which this is being done as a response to both the limitations of resources and economies in the developing world, and the imbalances which exist in the products, systems and cities of developed regions.

I feel that design hacking methodologies and philosophies hold profound benefits:

  • Hacking creates new engagements between the product and the consumer
  • Hacking mandates relevance and necessity in design
  • Hacking is resourceful
  • Hacking creates abundance from limited resources
  • Hacking finds the truth in systems
  • Hacking gives people a voice.

As I write in the text:

Hacking creates new realities, options and possibilities from those we are given, whether commercial, social or civic. It offers forth the notion of a democratization of design, by enabling the end user to be part of the process and not only on the receiving end of it. There is a triumphant message of individual resourcefulness and direct engagement when a hacker sensibility is applied.

Most of all, hacking is evidence of our fundamental self-reliance in spite of professionalism, bureaucracy and industrial supply. In many ways, it is a return to, or a rediscovery of, the skills which saw us through our pre-consumerist times, when ‘making do’ with what you had to hand required inventiveness. To relegate such activity to the realms of ‘amateurism’ is a dangerous dismissal, for it not only further deepens the ‘us and them’ disconnect between design and society, but ignores the vast potential of the creative energies at work outside established channels.

Design Hacking: Resourceful Innovation and Sustainable Self-Reliance is available on Amazon.