Design for Belonging
How to Build Inclusion and Collaboration in Your Communities
A practical, illustrated guide to using the tools of design to create feelings of inclusion, collaboration, and respect in groups of any type or size—a classroom, a work team, an international organization—from Stanford University's d.school.
“This is a beautiful book. Wise has applied the gift and imagination and lenses of the d.school to one of our most precious questions: how to create belonging.”—Priya Parker, author of the Art of Gathering and host of the New York Times podcast Together Apart
Belonging brings out the best in everyone. Whether you’re a parent, teacher, community organizer, or leader of any sort, your group is unlikely to thrive if the individuals don’t feel welcomed, included, and valued for who they are.
The good news is that you can use design to create feelings of inclusion in your organization: rituals that bring people together, spaces that promote calm, roles that create a sense of responsibility, systems that make people feel respected, and more. You can’t force feelings, but in Design for Belonging, author and educator Susie Wise explains how to use simple levers of design to set the stage for belonging to emerge. For example, add moveable furniture to a meeting space to customize for your group size; switch up the role of group leader regularly to increase visibility for everyone; or create a special ritual for people joining or leaving your organization to welcome fresh perspectives and honor work well done.
Inspiration and stories from leaders and scholars are paired with frameworks, tools, and tips, providing an opportunity to try on different approaches. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to spot where a greater sense of belonging is needed and actively shape your world to cultivate it—whether it’s a party, a high-stakes meeting, or a new national organization.
*Includes a downloadable PDF of images and key exercises from the book