About Matt Ratto

Matt Ratto
Toronto | Canada

SDGC19 Speaker Matt Ratto

Matt Ratto University of Toronto, Associate Professor

Matt Ratto is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Information at the University of Toronto. With over 20 years of experience studying the social implications of emerging digital technologies, he develops design-based methods for incorporating social and organizational needs within information systems. He coined the term ‘critical making” in 2007 to describe work that combines humanities insights and engineering practices, and has published extensively on this concept.



'Critical Making as an Antidote to Design Thinking'


Design thinking is an incantation that works multiple magics. It can be used to loop stakeholders into the complexities of a human-centred design process, but can also be used in a linear, procedural way to deskill designers in favour of more abstract and decontextualized modes. Critical making, a practice which emphasizes the situated, context-specific, and material expertise of designers, can provide an antidote to some of the potential dangers of design thinking.


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