Our world is changing. In the past decade, many dire societal problems have arisen, including the global aging of our population and climate change due to increasing amounts of green house gases in the atmosphere. Society is fractioning as people fail to heed environmental warning signs or consider the needs of the current and future generations. These problems are not simple problems—they are systems of problems, or what Herb Simon called “wicked problems” and Russell Ackoff simply dubbed “messes”.
The discipline of interaction design needs to change in response to these demands. It is no longer sufficient to practice user-centered design, with its focus on the development of one computational product to serve the needs of a single user. Instead, interaction designers need to adopt a larger, more holistic view of problems and the solutions that might be developed to address them. My work on product-service systems design helps our community embrace systems thinking in interaction design to better design for the world in which we live.