Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Shifting the Design Industry Towards Ethical Frameworks and Care With George Aye

Shifting the Design Industry Towards Ethical Frameworks and Care With George Aye

George Aye discusses his journey in design and the unique perspective he brings as an Adjunct Professor and Co-Founder of Greater Good Studio. He shares his current obsession and efforts to improve his diet and overall health. He also delves into the importance of design ethics and the need for a shared understanding and framework in the industry. He highlights the challenges and opportunities of working with different types of clients and the responsibility of tackling complex social issues through design.

Key Takeaways:

  • Prioritize design ethics by promoting shared understanding and framework

  • Design with mindfulness to prevent harm, especially when working with vulnerable populations.

  • Embrace a human-centered approach as the design industry evolves.

  • Maintain a balance between optimism and frustration when tackling complex social issues, acknowledging the challenges while staying hopeful.

  • Approach your work with purpose by being empathetic and innovative in your designs 


"I want them to remember these meals so they have that baseline palate. Not that I need them to have a high fine dining palette, but just like they will associate love and connection through food, I want to be somewhat responsible for that." - George Aye

"And because there isn't really much in the way of a standard or a single definition, if you will, it becomes incredibly risky, I think, to expose those teams to human subjects." - George Aye 

"I've been really pleased to see how sophisticated our clients are becoming around knowing that there's still a gap in our understanding around these humans that we care for and we protective of and we serve and we want to get closer to what that gap is. - George Aye

"Don't say that this is the same of getting someone approved for food stamps or not. They are not the same. And that rhetoric around it being impactful I get, but it is not equivalent to direct reconciliation around systemic issues, around harm and around race and identity that are present because to make those equivalent to me feels like, grossly inappropriate." - George Aye 

"The term pissed-off optimist comes from my co-founder, Sara Cantor, and it aptly describes, I think, for the two of us, the inherent tension in wanting to remain hopeful that something can still happen. But mad as hell that something hasn't happened yet, because there's a lot to be upset about. And I think, if anything, it's about recognizing we would believe. I don't think it's healthy or sustainable to be only one of those two things. - George Aye

"It's not about having money. They are denied getting their foot onto the wealth generating mechanism that is homeownership." - George Aye

"What do we have to do this work? What right do we have to show up to any of these spaces and have anything to say?" - George Aye


(01:22) Introduction to George Aye, Co-Founder of Greater Studio in Chicago

(02:21) Icebreaker: His current obsession with Poke Bowls and diet

(07:33) Icebreaker: The lack of industry-wide ethical framework in design

(15:18) Icebreaker: His surprise at the number of clients seeking their expertise

(20:52) His background in design and transition to the social sector

(28:22) The concept of being a "pissed-off optimist"

(32:41) Overview of the types of projects Greater Studio works on

(36:41) The responsibility and approach to working on diverse topics

(39:21) How to find out more about Greater Studio and their work

About The Guest:

George Aye is the Co-Founder of Greater Good Studio in Chicago and an Adjunct Professor at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has a computer rendering and design consultancy background and has worked with various clients in both the commercial and social sectors.

Connect with George Aye:





Referenced Links:

Ep. 48: Healing, Quarantine Scheming, and HmntyCntrd With Vivianne Castillo

That Quiet Little Voice 

What's Next:

Please leave us a rating and a review on Apple Podcast.

Support Technically Speaking by being a Patron.

Visit the website here.

Connect With Me:




Technically Speaking
Technically Speaking with Harrison Wheeler
Technically Speaking is a podcast by Harrison Wheeler about BIPOC designers, entrepreneurs & technologists sharing their unique stories of triumph and resilience at the intersection of product design.