Posts filed under ‘Design Thinking’

Good Primers for new design approaches: some good reads in Design and Thinking (don’t underestimate that comma)

One of my friends who working for “Teach for All” asked me today about good readings for a quick immersion on Design. Why? Because design strategies seemed appealing for them as a form of “elicitation of creativity and participatory work among organizations. I didn’t want for him to be trapped in the “Brainstorming/ Post It” cloud, which is usually what consultancies offer. So here are some of the readings that I thought could be more helpful in clarifying the picture on design.

NOT DESIGN THINKING AGAIN!
First a disclaimer. As Lucy Kimbell states (quoting Rylander 2009),  “it’s hard enough understanding design and thinking, let alone design thinking. So it is not a surprise that those who support its application to business or more broadly to public services or social problems, have trouble articulating what it is, whether all designers can do it…” The articulation of “Design Thinking” is messy, and yet, for me, OVERUSED! So please do refer to particular aspects of design when you are working within these matters. A bunch of the design thinkers can be categorized as “snake charmers” or “encantadores de serpientes” like we would say in Spanish. The same goes to the so-called “innovation” term.

1. THE DESIGN THINKING BUZZ
JournalBeing consequent, I would begin reading Lucy Kimbell’s article “Rethinking Design Thinking published on the 3d Volume of the journal “Design and Culture”. In this article she puts forward a lot of the controversies that design practice and recent theory-building (mostly translated to the business world) brings. It highlights the strengths of design and its biggest problem. Also, it touches on the history that most people don’t know about. The preIDEO, pre-marketing buzz Design-Thinking term. Read this article in order to get a grasp of what real designers do, and what real design oriented researchers or thinkers have written about in the past. As a researcher and design-anthropologist, I value the critical thinking Kimbell poses and the way she draws a line between management and a more cognitive and culturally sensitive form of design thought configuration.

2. INTERACTION DESIGN
bookupright3
A component that has been critical to design, or at least on how we use design nowadays, is
Interaction Design”. As mentioned before in this blog, interactions “are said to frame the relationship between people and a variety of artifacts like products & systems, which convey the aspect of function, which has always been part of design [Dubberly, Pangaro & Haque, 2009] “.   Interaction design has migrated from what was software or Internet design to what is design in products, systems and even social systems. To learn about this I would recommend:

coverTo know about history I would get Moggridge’s (RIP) “Designing Interactions” (The MIT Press), which is an easy to read history compendium of interviews with designers related with this matters. Dan Saffer‘s (ex Adaptive Path)  “Designing for Interactionis an easy recipe-like paperback edition that will give you applicable knowledge on how to use interaction design techniques. So you can think on users and people in general in order to make better design solutions.
Lastly but not least, there is a powerful interaction design tool that is called “Personas”. This is a tool that is used more and more to create empathy between designers and the end-user of their creations. I’ve found that this is the tool that has more potential among organizations as it gives a democratic instrument for everyone to become more empathetic towards their human network. Inmates asylum bookThroughout the years, I’ve realized that students are taught about this method but not really told where it’s application come from (in the interaction design realm, in anthropology it would be different). To know about this I have suggested in this previous post to read about Cooper’s The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High Tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity” published in 1998 introduced the use of personas as a practical interaction design tool. Based on the single-chapter discussion in that book, personas rapidly gained popularity in the software industry due to their unusual power and effectiveness. “

3. SERVICE DESIGN AND SYSTEMS THINKING
Foto_Design-Systems thinkingThe last two books that I would suggest in reading have to do with two of the most (according to me) interesting developing areas for design nowadays: Service Design and Systems thinking. Both are connected. Systems thinking explains the way service design can be approached. Donella Meadows (RIP) a pioneering environmental scientist has a simple primer called Thinking in Systems”. In an affordable book, she introduces tools, concepts and ways of tackling problems through this lens. She uses stories and some basic graphs to illustrate her points and also touches on “leverage points” (like information flows, critical nodes, etc.), which are one of the basics for assessments of systems through design. Lastly, I would recommend that you readThis is Service Design Thinking: Basics. If you are not a design/engineer researcher or an anthropologist writing theory on design, this book should be enough. Service Design ThinkingIt is definitely a Primer. With a very cute and useful information design layout, the authors just put upfront basic concepts and useful canvases to work with service design tools. If you enjoyed Alexander Osterwalder‘s Business Model Generation book, you will enjoy this 23 international author’s textbook as it works with the same formula. An application-based visual thinking material that portrays cases that can be replicated or used as learning platforms.

 

 

 

December 26, 2012 at 1:29 am Leave a comment

Escaping “assembly-line instruction”: Design.ed as a desirable education style?

Diagram: CM, Adapted from Dr. Barbara Rogoff 2011 

Education has been a topic touched by various disciplines, organizations and governments. But as important as it is, not many radical moves have been undertaken in places like in my home country. Today I attended a lecture in the “Center for Children, Relationships and Culture“, part of the Human Development Dept. at the University of Maryland where Dr. Rogoff presented research on the way kids [her biggest studies are from indigenous Mesoamerica or kids with that heritage] learn. Her insights suggested that kids from this area have what she calls a learning through Intent Community Participation. As she mentions: “where children are included in a wide range of activities, they are keen observers and learn through contributing to the ongoing activities of their community.” On the contrary, the way the average American is educated is through what she calls: “Assembly line Instruction“. She indicates: “Unlike learning through Intent Community Participation Assembly-Line instruction controls learners’ attention, motivation, and behavior in settings isolated from productive contributions to the community“. In her work, she exposes the benefits of going for a more engaging education that touches reality and ongoing participation.

SIMILARITIES WITH EDUCATION IN DESIGN

As soon as Dr. Rogoff presented the characteristics of Intent Community Participation instruction, I started to think: this looks very much like education in design…. Diagram: CM, Adapted from Dr. Barbara Rogoff 2011

No wonder why people are talking about incorporating some design-ed strategies in the schooling system. Design, (more…)

April 26, 2012 at 4:13 pm 2 comments

Dance and Design, this is revolution

Pic: CM [Aleta teaching students to improvise and flock, 2012]

I have always been a wannabe contemporary dancer, but always stayed in the basic-amateur side. But really, never thought this kind of art could relate to design in such a smooth way. This, until I met Aleta Hayes at while doing my research at Stanford Uni’s CDR. She made a whole session of improvisation with the design students from the Needfinding course at the DSchool. This is one of the courses that, thanks to Anne Fletcher and Michael Barry, I am working with for my design-anthropology doctoral research. Throughout a series of exercises, which for the first time DIDN’T SEEM CHEESY AT ALL [sometimes consultancies love to take over these exercises but without hiring the right people], she demonstrated the power of empathy and leadership. Leadership through flocking exercises: “… try to become like the people you are working with…”, which is how we commonly learn a choreography… and Empathy: certain exercises that “make you take over others people’s quality...”

DANCE YOUR PHD & DANCING POWERPOINT

Aleta Hayes, performer and Stanford lecturer, opened a whole new area in my mind. And I really mean it when I say it wasn’t cheesy, it made sense, just said by her in the way she said it sounded like easy-adoptable-theory. And even though I am working with some aspects of choreography for analyzing team performance, I had never thought to use dance in the ways she presented.
Video: TED X Brussels
She also showed this video of TED X Brussels [it had to be here, the only place where a circle of my friends, (more…)

March 7, 2012 at 8:50 pm 2 comments

Methods: Personas, have you ever though where they came from?

ImagePic: Workshop I carried out at Stanford with Chilean incubators [CM]

Palo Alto, CA: Since I am here at Stanford as a VR, at the Center for Design Research, I’ve seen students carry out methods like “Brainstorming“, “Rapid Prototyping” and “Personas“. I would like to comment on the “personas” tool. Students learn how to make them, but do they know where they come from? It is in my belief that students or recipients of this teaching should learn the sources of these techniques. Why? Because you get to know the place where to search for more information or for understanding the rationale behind it. This situation would enable the learners to reconfigure their way of applying the methods yet in a more informed way. ImagePic: Cooper 

SO WHERE DO PERSONAS COME FROM?
Making archetypes coming from ethnographic or qualitatively inspired research is not something new to the fields of Anthropology or Sociology. But it was Alan Cooper, the “humanizer of technology”, so he indicates in his website, the one that “pioneered the use of personas as practical interaction design tools to create high-tech products that address user’s needs” . (more…)

December 7, 2011 at 7:43 pm 6 comments

Electronic Colloquium on Design Thinking Research

Source: ECDTR

This amazing source of information on Design Research is available online at the “Electronic Collquium on design Thinking Research” .

The idea of this colloquium is to foster the widespread and interchange of ideas coming from research done in the Design Thinking area. One of the most interesting things is that it has an explicit interdisciplinary focus, that not many scientific journals have. As they state: “the main focus of Design Thinking Research and the ECDTR is to understanding why Design Thinking has been so successful in the past and how this successful method can be supported and further enhanced in the future.” Check it out by clicking here.

June 15, 2011 at 10:45 pm Leave a comment

A Framework for Design Education: Download past key papers

The Design and Technology Association [DATA] and “The Design Education Research Group” at Loughborough University‘s Design School have put together critical papers from the 70’s and 80’s from individuals like Bruce Archer [Prof.Design Research Royal College of Arts in London], in order to build the basis of what has been written about design education. We need to know our past in order to plan our future. Download the papers for free here.

April 22, 2011 at 7:14 pm Leave a comment

Design Thinking in K12 classrooms

A group of Master of Graphic Design students at NC State develop creative ideas for incorporating Design Thinking in North Carolina Middle Schools. Using an interaction design point of view. Here is one example of great applicable ideas to start an educational revolution.
Picture: LR & TJB
By

Laura Rodriguez/MA Graphic Design NCSU
TJ Blanchflower
/ MA Graphic Design NCSU

During our graduate studio with design scholar Meredith Davis, we had the privilege of exploring her personal research—the application of design thinking to K-12 classrooms. The outcome was the development of learning materials and technologies that deploy design thinking strategies, specifically for 7th grade science.  The first phase of this project was the collaborative research of 6 design students, culminating in a series of large scale posters. During the second phase, we investigated how design thinking strategies could fulfill North Carolina middle school science standards.USING SCENARIOS & OTHER INTERACTION METHODOLOGIES
This process book represents the collaborative and individual development (more…)

January 14, 2011 at 12:37 am 1 comment

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contact + citing (CC license)

Constanza Miranda PhD(c) design.anthro
* Currently @ DILAB
*
NCSU
* Ex.VR @ Stanford's Center for Design Research [DesignXLab]
* Ex.Instructor @ PUC Chile [Design+Engineering]
Use citations ¡Citar es ético!
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Design for Social Innovation initiative by Constanza Miranda is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at www.innovacionsocial.cl.

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