How to reflect on power

June 10, 2019


During the month of May, our students partake in our Experiential Mod; they spend time on a trip in our Field Studies program, or they spend their days on campus devoting every hour of the school day to their work in the Social Innovation Program. This year, to break up the day, we piloted CoCoFab. These hour-long, mixed-grade sessions happened Mondays around the theme of contemplation, Wednesdays around the theme of communication, and on Fridays around the theme of fabrication. 


During one Monday session, students viewed George Aye's SXSW 2018 talk, "The Designer's Weakness: Understanding the Role of Power." Inspired by the themes of the talk, students from Lindsey's group wrote a series of questions that might help students evaluate the effectiveness and ethics of their work.


  • Is human-centered design (and behavioral change) the right approach, or should we seek more sustainable change?

  • Does this project solve the fundamental problem instead of just being a band-aid solution? 

  • How are you going to measure impact?

  • Who are we helping? Does this project serve a vulnerable or underserved population? 

  • Who are we hurting? 

  • Are there people who would be opposed to your project? What are their points?  SHould you edit your project to satisfy their points? 

  • Is your project addressing the concerns of all stakeholders and not just one side? 

  • Why is this necessary? 

  • Is your project overly ambitious?  Is your timeline realistic?

  • Do you understand the problem clearly before you start embarking on your project?

  • Does your project do more than raise awareness?

  • Is there a call to action?

  • What is Sequoyah's tolerance for new approaches to this issue?

  • Will we learn new things by doing this project? 

  • Is it fun?  

  • Are we the right people to tackle this issue? 

  • Is there someone you can work with who is in a position of power? 














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