Like miners in the 19th-century gold rush, we designers flocked to product design and interactive media in pursuit of personal passion, career growth, and a chance to make the world a better place. Promised the opportunity to “make an impact”, we created experiences that shaped society—sometimes in small ways, sometimes on a massive scale. Sometimes in ways we never anticipated or intended.

We designers are ordinary people who have found ourselves with extraordinary influence—a relatively small group making decisions that affect the lives of millions of users. But how do we know whether our work will change the world for good? Where are the boundaries of our responsibility?

Every design decision is ultimately about what kind of world we want to build, and what’s good for the people we share it with. And to wrestle through those questions, we need to slow down, learn to see ourselves through the lens of community, and dedicate ourselves to the ancient pursuit of wisdom.