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A Meeting of Minds

On the Shoulders of Giants: Design for Values is inspired by the work of the International Islamic Marketing Association (IIMA).

A Meeting of Minds: Design for Values was conceived at a meeting with Dr. Bakr Al Serhan, the founder of the IIMA, in Tahrir Square in Cairo in December 2012. This was a time of turmoil in Cairo and the wider Muslim world and yet on this sunny winter afternoon Tahrir Square was a family picnic setting with children, parents and grandparents all enjoying the winter sun and some good food. Teenage soccer matches shared the roads with walkers and talkers. The most pressing danger felt was of being run over by a teenager on a motorcycle or loosing your teeth from too much sugar in the mandatory sweet tea! It was a calm between storms that provided a unique environment to explore and exchange world views.

A Jordanian and an Irish man walked into Tahrir Square sounds like the introduction to an old style joke, the punchline of the joke is that we were pleasantly surprised to find so many areas of agreement. In areas ranging from social justice, environmental protection, consumer challenges and wide ranging ethics issues there was general agreement. Views certainly diverged on some theological issues but turned out to be closely aligned on the basic requirements for human well-being.

The Dawn of an Idea: A key area of agreement was that if you want to align the marketing of products to the Muslim consumer with the consumers values it is best to start at the beginning - and that means starting at the 'Ideation' phase of new product development. Hence the birth of Design for Values. Design for Values focuses not just on food and hardware based products but all consumer experiences, from education and governance, to social services and social justice. Thank you for reading. Ronald.

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