Alastair Somerville
2 min readJan 31, 2021


Good Dissent in large text on blue background

I have registered as the start of some 2021 work on ideas of confidence in defying authority and breaking group think for positive reasons.

Good Dissent is idea that came out of Design For Dissent workshops last year and further reading on active listening and communication skills.

At the moment, the web address simply takes you to Etsy and the Good Dissent badges I started selling last December.

Good Dissent badge on card with noth of $1.45 cost and web address ar

The badges summarise a few ideas that came out Design For Dissent workshops.

The simple act of being visibly dissenting. How unanimity and group think are broken by being seen or being heard.

The importance of recognising that dissent is not in convincing others that you are right and they are wrong. It is about creating cracks in acquired or common knowledge such that people use their own skills to research more or to think more critically.

Bad Dissent — large text on black background

Over the last few weeks (watching the Capitol Insurrection and its aftermath), I have shifted from simply talking about Good Dissent and now also talk of Bad Dissent.

Understanding how those with power and privilege continue to break public debate to increase hate and to oppress people matters.

Being confident in dissenting for positive reasons is not enough. Recognising the tricks and behaviours who oppose such positive change is important. Those tricks use manipulation, like Gaslighting, to reduce confidence, to reduce debate and to reduce change.

Good Dissent is necessary. I am hoping to run some 1 hour online workshops in March on both Good and Bad Dissent. Times to talk together about what is needed, practice some useful skills and recognise how to fight back when Bad Dissent is being used.

Let me know if this sounds interesting to you. Email or Twitter @acuity_design.

Good Dissent badge in front of folded A5 with Bad Dissent ideas on one side and Good on the other



Alastair Somerville

Sensory Design Consultant, usability researcher and workshop facilitator. Twitter @acuity_design & @visceralUX