Service Design Canada

During a 1-hour session on Monday, April 6, designers came together on Zoom to brainstorm our response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We collaborated together on a shared Google doc to identify challenges, opportunities, and to share projects we need help with.

Activity Template

  • ~2-min intro
  • ~5-min heads down reflection on the following topics
  • ~20-min discussion


  1. What challenges are we facing? How might we reframe some of these challenges?
  2. What are the greatest opportunities for the service design community? What role can we play?
  3. What are you working on, what challenges do you need help with?

Breakout Room


  • Thinking that the pandemic is isolated from the interconnected global social, economic, political, and technological systems that we are building, maintaining, and perpetuating through design.
  • The fear, scarcity, and competition that are the foundational values of our social, economic, and political systems.
  • The timidity of designers to acknowledge their own complicity in the ecological crisis, of which this pandemic is a symptom, because we benefit and make our living from the existing systems.
  • Globalization of industrial genocide and ecocide.
  • The monopoly of governments and corporations over public discourse.
  • Indigenous marginalization and criminalization creating conditions of high risk for contracting disease and increased death rates.
  • Media literacy.
  • Designers need to organize to regain power from a corporate model of economic activity that turns humans into wage slaves for banks and extractive nation states.
  • Preventing corporations from looting the public purse while we are busy reimagining the value of being human.


Redesigning a political system that has been designed 152 years ago for the appropriation of land, exploitation of resources, and the genocide of Indigenous peoples.


Indigenization (Decolonization)

  • Social Architecture: social, economic, political, and ecological systems thinking.

Radical Imagination

“In order to change the world, we first have to believe it’s possible. We need to tell stories about a better world we all deserve.”
Eric Holthaus

Social Architecture

Exploring how we imagine, design, and build the future together

Rethinking Economics

The 20th-century economists told us a story about who we are, based on John Stuart Mill’s persona of “Rational Economic Man” as purely self-interested, with little regard for the interests of others. “This value in self-interest and competition over collaboration and altruism, this model remakes us. It's incredibly important how we how we represent ourselves. It changes us.”
Kate Raworth