Why designing for trust matters

Our upcoming talk at O’Reilly AI Conference.

Unless you’re Google, or one of the other FAANGs, the question that always comes up is, How do I compete? [Corporation X] has it all sewn up! One of the most fruitful answers that we want to talk about is: trust. And specifically, designing for trust – the trust of your business, and the trust of your future users.

After the flood’s story as a company is one of learning how to do this. We went from making products, to making businesses, and along the way learned how to make something from nothing. Whether it’s a business literally from nothing – where you have to find the sticks to make the fire – or making a new business from within a business – which follows more or less the same principles in a different context.

Our approach is to create new business and revenue, through design and consulting: or in other words answering the question: What are the new ways, with new revenues, that my business could operate?

Our material at After the flood, is data and AI – and we’d argue that now is the best time there’s ever been, to create businesses from nothing – because AI is becoming a force-multiplying material (like steel, electricity, or code). Used correctly, AI enables the scaling of start-up projects within corporates.

But AI needs trust. AI solutions must be trustworthy because any business-to-consumer, business-to-business, or business-to-government effort that grows enough will face significant (and justified!) compliance and regulatory challenges. Customers or procurement departments cannot buy systems that are a black box.

Though conceptually AI has been around for a while, and its use is expanding rapidly, it’s still in many ways very new – we’re still coming to terms with its implications and possibilities. But it’s clear that it can amplify value in arguably any business, in many ways – not least by providing opportunities for engagement, understanding and actionable insights. By the same token, this power becomes a liability unless designed according to principles of trust. And this is what we’re focused on.

This approach and our principles for designing for trust apply to all our work, but at the conference, we’re going to take a deeper look at one area in particular, for typifying some of these opportunities and liabilities at massive scale: mobility and the future city.

We’ll post our talk here after the conference. In the meantime, you can get in touch.

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