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Thoughtless Acts: Home for Joey

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Jul 27 2018

Human-centered design requires us to observe human behavior with beginner's eyes, so that we can spot the innate ways people interact with the world around them. We call these intuitive and unconscious reactions Thoughtless Acts, and IDEO designers collect photos of them to inspire their work.

On a recent trip to the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, I spotted a baby kangaroo (or wallaby; it was tough to tell) fast asleep in a unique pouch.

Young marsupials, including kangaroos, wallabies, and koalas, spend the first part of their lives inside their mother’s pouches, but baby joeys raised away from their mothers—babies that are orphaned, for example—need substitutes.

When three wallaby joeys arrived at the Safari Park in April, keepers put them into little cloth sacks. But this joey was lounging inside a woman’s fleece sweater, with the bottom sewn up and the arms tucked in to prevent a sideways escape. Keepers had cut a hole in the front and hung the sweater at just the right height for the joey to hop in and out.

Sweet dreams, little one!

  • Heather Kathryn Ross

    IDEO Alum
    As a lifelong storyteller, Heather has crafted articles about the legacy of civil rights abuse on North Carolina factory farms, the trillions of helpful microbes living in the human body, the wild art of Japanese butoh, and the ancient history of cheese. A jewelry maker, photographer, and amateur archaeologist, Heather can often be found on the lam with her camera or biking through San Francisco en route to the California Academy of Sciences.
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