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Making Collaboration Mean Something + Inclusive Design with Pinar Guvenc — DT101 E126

Pinar Guvenc is a partner at the award-winning global design studio SOUR, where she leads design innovation strategy. Pinar is also a member of the faculty at Parsons School of Design, and she serves on the Board of Directors at Open Style Lab, a National Design Award-winning nonprofit organization initiated at MIT, with the purpose of making style accessible to people with disabilities. Today on the show, we talk about inclusive design, and making collaboration and co-creation meaningful.

Portrait of Pinar Guvenc

Listen to Learn About

  • What it really means to collaborate
  • Inclusive design and designing for inclusivity
  • Teaching the next generation of designers

Our Guest

Pinar Guvenc is a Partner at SOUR — an award-winning global design studio with the mission to address social and urban problems — where she leads design innovation strategy. Prior to SOUR, Pinar co-founded various ventures where she helped set up and grow them through incubation, achieving international recognition and funding from innovation centers and accelerators such as Plug and Play and Climate KIC.

Pinar is a member of the faculty at Parsons School of Design, MS in Strategic Design and Management program, author and instructor of the “Inclusive Design” course at School of Visual Arts, and the author and facilitator of the workshop series “Strategic Collaborations” at Pratt Center for Community Development. She serves on the Board of Directors at Open Style Lab, a National Design Award-winning nonprofit organization initiated at MIT, with the purpose of making style accessible to people with disabilities.

Pinar is a frequent public speaker and host of the podcast “What’s Wrong With”: a series of discussions with progress makers and experts to diagnose problems in industries, ideate solutions, and raise awareness among the general public.

Show Highlights

[02:25] Pinar’s design career began in industrial engineering and finance.
[02:57] Becoming an “accidental entrepreneur” and discovering design along the way.
[04:10] Pinar’s frustration with the word “collaboration.”
[05:43] Designing collaborations.
[06:50] What is collaboration?
[07:07] Start with the people, then move to process.
[10:17] Processes help us stay focused when things are rushed.
[11:02] Recognizing our biases and sharing power when collaborating.
[11:37] Fully integrating design into an organization.
[12:44] Storytelling is part of the design process.
[14:51] Our work leadership style needs a fundamental change.
[15:37] Adults need to create and learn, just like children.
[16:16] A Miro Moment.
[18:06] Knowing what you don’t know is an asset.
[20:49] How SOUR works inclusivity into the design team and project.
[22:12] Pinar gives a shout-out to David Dylan Thomas (DT101 Ep 112).
[22:19] Thomas’ Red Team-Blue Team exercise.
[22:41] SOUR’s Co-Creation Panel.
[23:51] “Design spies!” and just doing the work of co-creation.
[24:55] How Pinar brings inclusivity into her teaching.
[25:07] Guest lecturers and keeping it real.
[27:11] Inclusivity begins during the research stage.
[27:52] Generative AI is great for showing us our prejudices and biases.
[31:13] The importance of being better, active listeners.
[32:28] As designers, we always need to be mindful of our responsibility for what we’re putting out in the world.


Pinar on LinkedIn
Pinar on The New School Parsons
Open Style Lab
What’s Wrong With podcast
A SOUR Perspective on design
Bringing Design Closer: Understanding Architecture’s role in designing inclusive spaces

Book Recommendations

Design for Cognitive Bias, by David Dylan Thomas

Design Thinking 101 Episodes You Might Like

Cognitive Bias + Ethics + Dreaming the Future of Design with David Dylan Thomas — DT101 E112
Designing Your Team + Teams in Design Education + Coaching Design Teams with Mary Sherwin and David Sherwin — DT101 E49
Designing Facilitation: A System for Creating and Leading Exceptional Events // ALD 006 — DT101 E73

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