049. David Johnson: Design, Law, and Climate
RemakeMay 26, 2022x
51:09117.35 MB

049. David Johnson: Design, Law, and Climate


Dave Johnson is a lecturer at the Stanford Law School and at the Stanford d.school, where he teaches negotiation through design thinking. Before Stanford, he worked as a lawyer for 20 years in Silicon Valley tech companies. His most recent articles are designed for legal systems and designing online mediation.


He's currently writing a book under the working title, Climate Change Activism by Design.




In this conversation we talk about:

  • The role of law and how design can make it better.
  • His ideas on climate change and climate change activism.
  • How object-oriented programming and design, and the philosophy behind it, could be implemented in the world of law.
  • Chaos theory, object-oriented modeling, and fuzzy logic.
  • The question of what is law, norms versus laws, spaghetti code in law versus object-oriented and object modeling.
  • The legislative system as all input and no output.
  • His involvement and passion for climate change and climate change activism, and how he wanted to inspire more people to become active and activists, rather than an activist.
  • The issue of individuals who are following climate trends and climate science, and getting really overwhelmed and feeling that there's not much they can do as individuals. And giving those individuals the tools to organize, collaborate, arrange small teams around specific tasks, and build a real force for change from the ground up.


We spoke at the end of March, 2022, and I was excited to get into this conversation because I love the idea of law and policy by design. I really think that the legal institutions and laws and policies are some of our most powerful tools for keeping chaos at bay and for keeping society functioning properly. And I really believe that tools from the world of design, particularly empathy and ideation, prototyping and testing, and iteration — that a lot of these core practices could really bring a lot of value in the world of law. So seeing that Dave is straddling these two worlds was very interesting to me.


This conversation with Dave is one of a dozen or so weekly conversations we already have lined up for you with thinkers, designers, makers, authors, entrepreneurs, and investors who are working to change our world for the better. So follow this podcast on your favorite podcast app, or head over to remakepod.org to subscribe.


And now let's jump right in with Dave Johnson.




[4:27] COVID in Singapore

[8:50] Early Childhood Driving Forces

[10:54] A Journey to Law

[13:14] From Chaos Theory to Object Modeling and Fuzzy Logic

[19:22] What is Law?

[24:24] The Application of Law

[30:04] Adding Versus Subtracting

[31:37] Law and Design

[41:20] Climate Activism

[47:48] A Short Sermon