2017/09/29 16:35 “Future of Design Thinking”, EditDX

Panel @EditDX @rsomerson  @CodeZebra  Luigi Ferrara, @jamescowan as moderator


This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted by David Ing.


  • by moderator:   James Cowan, former EIC of Canadian Business, and head of Maclean’s University department
  • Rosanne Somerson, President of Rhode Island School of Design
  • Sara Diamond, President of OCAD University
  • Luigi Ferrara, Dean of Centre Arts, Design and Information Technology at George Brown College, and Director of Institute Without Boundaries

James:  Start with “what is design thinking”?

Roseanne: doesn’t like the term design thinking

  • Designer at IBM:  Design thinking is a term used by non-designers
  • Term is used as an add-on, but designers thinking of it as a rigourous practice, strategy, making, doing, much more than thinking
  • Adding wellness to knowledge doesn’t made a doctor

Sara: Historical evolution

  • Northern Europe:  rather than technological change coming from above, best users are at the table
  • User-centered design
  • Then wicked problems
  • Ideo formalized it as pulling methods together, so multidisciplinary groups could think outside their boundaries in a wicked problems
  • Tools from ethnography, UCD, adopted
  • Sketching (using the body), brainstorming, creating personas
  • Has been reduced, partially by business schools
  • Designers are good at ideation
  • Thinking and making, thinking and making
  • Have used the concept a lot in Canada, with federal government to push outside the box of how funding is done

Luigi:  Term designing thinking has come out of business community for something they had previously had a limited need for

  • Was design, capital investment, then stewardship for 30 to 40 years
  • Changed in 1970s and 1980s, product innovation
  • Adaptive skills weren’t enough to handle rapid change
  • Who is able to do something, and work at the rate of change?
  • Saw design as a critical factor in success
  • Led them to understand there’s another approach beyond analytical, creative with scenarios
  • In design, opening up possibilities
  • Globalization is driving competition
  • Problem:  they want to latch onto design thinking, but aren’t comfortable with the design process
  • Messy, iterative lead to places that are uncomfortable
  • They want to systematize to find as something comfortable
  • Roger Martin, borrows from Greek philosopher, the opposable mind
  • Business isn’t ready yet, to have that much oppositional thinking

Sara:  Don’t want to generalize on organization’s ability to absorb

  • Some businesses find too disruptive
  • Have to be coupled with design making, generous design (respect for the earth)
  • Diversity inclusion lens
  • Systems thinking based
  • Will talk about Strategic Foresight

James:  Concrete examples of what design thinking looks like?

Roseanne:  Just think of it as design

  • A lot of industries are in flux
  • Have to reinvent:  design re-thinking, reinventing, not starting with existing paradigms
  • Notion of wicked problems, global challenges, rely on more than just one body of knowledge
  • Designed outcome:  intersections, collaborations, bringing rigour from different bodies of knowledge that inform that
  • Have a lot to do with education and training
  • Printmakers can always look at things in reverse
  • Group of students working with cadets at West Point, structures of cities to look at cities in the face of nuclear attack can be solved more humanly:  military mind and design mind
  • Student textile artist working with West Africa, wove stories into fabric to education of women on how bodies work and how to take care themselves
  • Then did visualizations on immunizations
  • Working with government:  institutes with members of CIA, DoD, running studio exercise for human-centered public policy:  how do you define a civic society?

Luiigi:  Design thinking uses the capacity of imagination

  • Not decidable problems, but undecidable problems
  • Change and time
  • Also seen design thinking in theatre
  • Disney Corporation used theatre metaphors
  • Theatre is a process unfolding over time
  • Industrial paradigm is always looking at the end product, functional perfection
  • But functional perfection changes over time
  • Design over time, that’s what’s different
  • Designing not a solution, but an evolution of solutions over time, that include communities of users of a postential problem
  • Not designing a chair, designing for sitting over time
  • This is the unexplored power
  • Many problems that have been intractable over time, people have been trying to solve them with one thing:  you change one thing, and then another, and slowly it all changes
  • How it’s generative, is at the core

Sara:  OCADU at undergraduate level teaches design thinking

  • Ideation, iteration
  • Has been a demand to ask about positionality:  design and feminism
  • How does my position play out into the power:  self-critical and interrogative
  • Different from design thinking previously, not asking about position
  • Foresighting is a more contemporary way of looking at future studies:  developing secondary research, maybe even primary research
  • Context and environment, looking at drivers, signal:  social, economic
  • Requires a depth of prior research
  • Developing scenarios, instead of a single solution
  • Baycrest, aging and brain health:  built carts that go into care environments, with caregivers and clients (receiving care), students undertake processes about the care environment, the positionality of people, taking in the knowledge of context, and how would be ways of transforming radically, particularly for the care receiver
  • Public policy:  client-facing services of the federal government, making it digital, online, seamless and client-centric, using design thinking tools in a deep way, with innovation centres, have received a lot of training, then piloted in acceleration centres, then in client-facing situations
  • Take a hierarchical environment that has been policy driven, administered, flipped
  • Use both foresighting and design thinking
  • Working with Heritage Canada, policy involved heritage should always involved artists:  what if you put artists at the first, instead of the grant giver
  • Coming for user-centric design

Roseanne:  Taking a blank pieces of paper, building something new

  • Artists and designers are comfortable in uncertainty
  • Not scary territory for them
  • People coming through sequential thinking
  • Problem when seen as an add-on
  • People come with questions, but spend a lot of time a the beginning reframing the question, due to rapid change
  • Multilingual abilities, see something differently, tweak the code, sometimes subverting it

Sara:  Intuition, other ways of knowing

  • Being highly sensitive to impact
  • Job as designers is to constantly remind human beings where they fit in technology change
  • Affective economy, how we live in the world
  • Capacity is important in design thinking, have to be careful not to strip it out.
  • Why are we doing this?
  • Can’t be value-free, has to be value-driven
  • This is why indigenous knowledge is important
  • Not moving away from disruption, but moving towards disruption

Luigi:  Business people deal with words, can be impoverished way of dealing with the pace of change

  • Massive change
  • Diversity:  we used to live in more homogenous
  • Future ways of living:  global village is now among us, it was predicted by McLuhan, now we’re living it
  • Have people with radically different backgrounds coming together
  • Language is a problem
  • The power that design brings is digitalization and simulation
  • By using tools, can start to use this
  • e.g. people arguing about density, but then have a visualization can discussion, and then simulation is more powerful
  • Skills then in interaction:  if you can create a design (systematics) that allows people to interact with the design, work through, and change, can change paradigms
  • Rather than a product, can create a system

Sara:  Traditionally, designers didn’t work with data in the same way, unless in infographics world

  • Now, showing that data can be represented in many ways
  • Now, data is god
  • Visualizations and simulations are important

Roseanne:  Perception, has to do with diversity and inclusion

  • As becoming better with perception
  • Big data, from the point of massive confusion into experience that helps others make sense of it


Question:  Responsibilities of designers to support things like the environment?

Roseanne:  Don’t inherently have the responsibility, but do have the capacity

  • Can bring the new ways to think about it, but not more than others in society
  • Designers can appreciate the experiences of others
  • Everyone’s responsibility

Luigi:  Most designers have an affinity, environment and social change

  • Over last 30 years, there’s been an isolation of the community
  • Designers can’t do things alone
  • Also a problem in the artistic community
  • Artists and designers need to work as citizens, and with other citizen
  • Was a broad social movement
  • Don’t just to things on your own, engage with others, and do projects

Sara:  importance of systems thinking

  • Commitment to teach sustainability, and teach techniques that are sustainable
  • Responsibility to hire diverse faculty
  • In Canada, need to look at truth and reconciliation, have to step up

Question:  Role of the educator in helping facilitate design thinking?

Sara:  Needs to be curricula that starts earlier than college and university

  • We don’t have design education K-12
  • Not just design thinking, but also innovation and design
  • Position design and sustainable
  • Haven’t talked enough about helping companies start companies
  • IBM and banks are hiring designers, but a lot of being a designer is to start own practice
  • Responsibility in a radicalized way, in the criticized way

Luigi:  Need to start earlier

  • Design education, need to start projects, but never took projects into implementation
  • At George Brown, now trying to take the project to reality, and that can inform you
  • Otherwise you’re only learning practice, and not getting the feedback from reality
  • Don’t really know what’s effective

Roseanne:  Have been starting design towards K-12

  • Can test and evaluate, culture changers need that
  • Looking at curriculum itself, don’t have baked instructions
  • You can’t erase history, but whose history?
  • Role of education, designing of 2048 when there isn’t ethnic majority, and gender fluidity is change communities, need to create curricula that are leading, rather than putting into margins

Question:  Artists and designers?

Sara:  A lot of fluidity

  • There are different methodologies that they learn
  • Art world:  Creative Time conference, artists role in transformative social change … similar, but maybe more disruptive than designers are comfortable with
  • Interrogation, critical irony
  • Design is more solution-ridden
  • Designers more problem solving, artists are going to construct and deconstruct the problem
  • Documenta, almost like being at Architecture Biennale
  • Needing to plan for nuclear war

Luigi:  Division in industrial design towards specializatoin

  • If you were an artist in the Renaissance, you were also a designer and an architect, part of a guild that created pottery, etc.
  • Creating art for people is an industrial concept
  • Traditional cultures, industrial world, then post-industrial
  • Pre-industrial, culture was created by communities together

Roseanne:  Audience, learning

  • Artists used to be about developing self
  • But now art is more community-based, more crossing disciplines
  • Designers were thought of creating for others
  • Self-conscious design
  • Harder and harder to categorize
  • Tradition in a contemporary way:  haptic, heart, mind
  • Design education has more formality in tools
  • Artists may have more inputs
  • Crossing and morphing
  • Steve Jobs as starting from calligraphy as a way to start designing
  • How do you find what you love, and what should you do with the educational path

Sara:  Reliance on different types of theory

  • Visual art was based on 19th and 20th century philosophy
  • Psychological, structuralist … ways of explaining the world
  • Not just visual world, but also text
  • Now reading across art theory:  critiques of race, more than design theory has, recently
  • Trying to converge in diverse ways

Question:  As chef, know design, how to use design thinking in antoerh way

Sara:  Would be fun to run a workshop on that

  • Urban agriculture, where you think from

Luigi:  At George Brown, are supposed to be designing the platter, Trevor is designing the food

  • Difference in looking at the sensory:  mouth feel

Roseanne:  Two food future communities at RISD

  • The way food interacts with taste buds differently
  • Nutrition
  • Food science
  • Set up lab, and play

Question:  Successful design and empathy?

Sara:  A huge history of design without empathy

  • In worst case, building of gas chambers
  • History of modernism, particularly anti-empathetic
  • Look at an empathy economy
  • It will influence what will be designed

Luigi:  Question may not be important

  • Wife is architect, and she was just tested with 3% empathy

Sara:  Being good at user engagement, she can fake the empathy!

Roseanne:  Self-conscious, ego-driven, unique, making it about me

  • Issue is a set of values
  • The more personal they are, the more that they will connect
  • Designing from a different set of values
  • Key:  understand the values, as you drive ideas forward
  • Work environments where you can bring those ideas forward into experience

Question:  Resources inspiring?

Luigi: Not a good book on design thinking, yet

  • Latest book from Ideo is about learning how to design, but it doesn’t describe design thinking
  • Go into projects, looking, finding out, visiting
  • Maybe it’s not a book, it’s an experience
  • Book is 19th century way

Roseanne:  How to inspire, build intuition

  • Not on the topic, different way of approaching the problem
  • Outdoors:  looking at things in a different way
  • Try a sketchbook, to design your own way
  • Can use camera in your phone as your sketchbook

Sara:  Believe in reading

  • Tim Brown, recent book
  • Idea Couture, idea thinking (for free)
  • Carl diSalvo, looking at adverserial design, agonism, support debates in democracy
  • Feminist theory:  Helene Frichot, How to make yourself a feminist power tool
  • Inclusive design research centre

#design-thinking, #editdx

2014/10/21 Erik Stolterman, “Improving Design without Destroying It” (web video)

A designerly approach is contrasted with a scientific approach or an artistic approach by Erik Stolterman, Professor Informatics, Indiana University.

Here’s some excerpts from the video hangout with CHI Belgium posted at http://youtu.be/zDrmzC8Ep-U?t=4m49s  .

[8:45] Maybe it’s more like a dilemma.  How can you improve design work without destroying it?

[9:40] When I talk about design now, today, I do talk about design as it is practiced in the field oF HCI and interaction design.  It’s the professional practice of interaction design that I’m discussing.   However, I think that it might be applied to any design field, but that might be a topic for another discussion.

[10:25] It seems today like every business, or every agency, or every institution believes that they should adopt some type of design thinking, because if you do, you become better at what you do in some way.  [….]

[11:20] There is a problem with this.  There is a problem that a lot of people realized, because when you accept that design a way of approaching how to create new technologies, how to create new applications, how to create new interactive systems, you’re going to create it in a designerly way.

[11:55] First of all, what do you mean by a designerly way?  The other question is why do you do it, what are the benefits of it?  And the third piece is what I want to talk about.  Let’s say there is a good reason for doing it — there is a good reason for doing it in a designerly way in HCI — then how can you prove that?  And this is where the dilemma comes in.

[12:30]  Why do people believe that a designerly approach is a good thing, in our field.  First of all, you have to accept that doing things in a designerly way is a choice.  It’s not that have do it in that way.  You can choose any other approach.  You can chose a scientific approach, you can choose an artistic approach, you can choose an engineering approach.  You can choose a religious approach, if you want to.  It’s possible.

[13:10] The choice you make is based on the idea that you believe that picking one approach instead of another gives you some benefit that you believe is beneficial to you.

[13:40] For people who already know design, and are engaged in design, it’s has become more and more obvious over the years that design itself has become a disciplined practice.  A lot of people who don’t know design or haven’t work with design don’t see it as a disciplined practice.  […]

[14:10] When you ask someone what is design, they come up with these descriptions that are unfortunate in many ways.  They say, well, it’s not as rational or logical as say, a scientific approach, and it’s not so stable and structured as an engineering approach, so what’s left is that design becomes this approach that is non-structured, irrational, no one really knows what it is, and it seems like anything goes.  That’s a problem.

[14:50]  If you do understand the designerly way of doing things, you do understand that it requires a disciplined way of working.  It requires a designerly logic.  It requires a designerly, rigourous way of doing things.

[15:20]  This approach, design, delivers unique outcomes.  It can help to create new things, innovative things, things we haven’t thought of, before.

[15:50] So what’s the bad side?  The problem with design is that it’s not predictable.  It’s not very efficient, necessarily.  It’s filled with risk. It’s super risky.  It demands a lot of competence or skills that are not easy to acquire.  It’s not that you become a designer by reading an article and applying what you’ve learned.  That’s not how it really works.

[16:50] And you never really know if you’ve solved the problem.  Design doesn’t solve problems.  Design changes reality.  There is no way — and this is a big problem with designers working with non-designerly people — is that you say, well, this is where we ended up, and maybe the client says that’s not what we asked for.  Well, no, but we realized through the design process that that problem that was defined was not really the problem, so we went back, and we rethought things, and we changed the way we think about the situation, and based on that, we came up with this other possible solution.  So this is the design we ended up with.  And that sounds very strange to people who are not a design thinking mode, because it becomes complete unpredictable.

[17:45]  If you’re a client, and you want to hire designer to build an interactive application, and they suddently come up with something completely different, how do you understand that, how do you work with that?  As a client, it’s difficult.  How do you work that with a client?  This is something that designers also understand.  They understand that the way we work, with iteration, with prototyping, and experimenting and exploring, where we change both the problem and the solution at the same time through the process we’ve never done, we just run out of money.  There are no right or wrong solutions, there are just solutions with consequences.  […]

[18:20] A lot of people who work in this area with design and a designerly approach do understand that it’s problematic to explain design, and it has its limits.  For instance, the predictability, the risks, the inefficiency, and all of those things.  It’s very expensive.  It’s cery complex.  It requires competence.

[18:45] So they start to try to improve design. And this is where the dilemma comes in.  I call it the improvement trap.  It is a trap.  What happens is that even good designers look at the design process themselves, and they say, maybe we can make this more efficient; maybe we can make it more predictable; maybe we can make it less person-dependent.  So they try to change the design process itself, so it doesn’t have the weaknesses that a lot of people see in design.  At the same time, this is the trap.

[19:40]  It seem to be the case that almost all of those improvements are not necessarily improvements.  They change the design process into something else.  And if you do enough of those improvements, you might actually end up with a design process that isn’t design anymore.  It’s a completely different process.  It’s not a designerly approach.  Because now, it has taken on all these other things, from other approaches.  And what that means that it can’t deliver anymore.

[20:20]  So what is it that it can’t deliver?  It can’t deliver these unique outcomes, these new innovative outcomes that surprise people, and fascinate people with these new possibilities.  Because if you restrict the design process so that it becomes a non-design process, then it can’t deliver the outcomes that the design process has, over time, become very good at delivering.

[20:55]  This can happen in any field.  If we take art, for instance, in art, we do know that most people accept the artistic approach as a way of creating highly personal artistic expressions about the world, or about a reality.  What’s problematic with the artistic approach?  First of all, it’s so slow.  It’s very person-dependent.  Let’s take an efficiency perspective on art.  Art is very difficult to manage,  You never really know when this artist will produce a piece of art.  So, if what you want to do is to make art more efficient, and less person-dependent, let’s have instead of having one artist that creates these personal expressions about reality, let’s hire ten who would do the same thing.  Then we have ten different people who would create the same type of artistic expressions.  If you think about that, almost everyone, even if they don’t understand art, would say, well, that’s crazy, you can’t do that.  If you that, then it’s not art anymore, and now it’s something completely different.  It’s a process that is kind of streamlined, people have to do the same thing.  Of course, it is now, which was the purpose, person-independent, it’s efficient and fast.  But at the same time, most people would argue, it’s not art anymore.  And the outcome will not be considered to be art.

[22:40]  You can take the same thing with science, which is just the opposite, actually.  If you take science as the example, science is a really great approach to create really stable truths about reality, and it does that based on time.  It’s also a very slow and difficult process, and it has to be person-independent, so it’s contrary to art this is person-dependent.  Anyone who does science is supposed to come up with the same result.  So, why not make science more efficient?  Why have have people who want certain results pay individual scientists to come up with the results that they’re looking for?  That would be much more efficient.  It just sounds so crazy, so we wouldn’t even consider those consider that idea, even though we have those examples from, say, the tobacco industry, who have paid for a lot of interesting studies over the years.  We all know that, and everybody says that’s valid research, that’s not the way it can be done.

[24:10] So there are some intrinsic approaches of these approaches that cannot really be changed, because if you do change them, you lose the whole purpose with that particular approach.  [….]

[33:30]  If you want to do work to improve design,  the best thing you can do to improve design today is to not manipulate the process, but to create a better understanding of the process.  I would like to see more people focusing on the understanding part on what makes design unique instead of focusing on coming up with improved ways of changing the process.


[37:30] A designerly approach is the approach that we take or humans uses when they want to come up with something not yet existing.  If you want to produce something, and you already know what it is, if it’s just a matter of creating it in a little bit of a variation, or in a better, maybe improve it in some way, it always has a little bit of design challenge to it, but it is mostly not a design challenge.

[38:10] A designer approach to me is the approach where you start out with the situation, maybe a problem, but it’s not.  During the process, you realize that  the problem is not necessarily what we thought it was.  During the process, the solution changes constantly, the problem changes constantly, and the idea about what you need to do next changes constantly.  So there is this kind of very strange, nonlinear play dynamic between the situation and the problem on one hand, the solution and the final design on the other hand, and the process on the third.  And they all influence each other.  So, that’s why it’s so difficult for designers to, in advance, say what they’re going to do.

[39:10] The design process is this very dynamic complex process that unfolds when you get to deep dive into the situation and the people and the limitations and everything that you have to deal with.  The process unfolds.  The only thing you can do, and this is what designers do, of course, you can describe the process on a high level, and you can talk about, well, we have the phase when we have to talk about the problem, and then we have the phase where we come up with some initial ideas, and then we have the phase when we do more detailed design.  That is correct on some very abstract level, but we all know, at any time in this process, it can jump back, almost to the beginning to reframe the whole problem, and it takes a completely different way.

[40:10] That, to me, is the designerly approach.  It’s this approach where you, in a dynamic way, work between the problem, the solution and the process, and they define each other in a way that almost no other process really does.

#design-thinking, #designerly, #interaction-design

Design Thinking: What it is and Why it Works | Jeanne Liedtka | January 2013 | Design at Darden

How would we research the contribution of designi thinking? A @DesignAtDarden working paper by Jeanne Liedtka on “Design Thinking: What it is and Why it Works” from Jan. 2013 on “Design Thinking:  What it is and  Why it Works”.  Discovered that Liedtka co-authored Designing For Growth: A Design Thinking Toolkit for Managers with Tim Ogilvie, who said: “I Did Not Invent Design Thinking (Honest)“.

Here’s a quick outline of the Working Paper.


Step 1:  What is Design Thinking?

  • Defining the Concept
  • Intellectual Roots in Design Theory
  • Design and Business Theory

Step 2:  Is the Concept Valid?

  • Examining Design Practices and Tools
  • Conclusion: Convergent Validity Test
  • Conclusion: Divergent Validity Test

Step 3:  Conducting Research on Design Thinking

  • A Starting Point

Examining the Psychological Underpinning of Design Thinking in the Cognitive Bias Literature

  • Challenges in Hypothesis Generation
  • Challenges in Hypothesis Testing
  • Dealing with Identified Dysfunctions
    • In hypothesis generation, for decision makers who have difficulty seeing novel solutions and figuring out what users will value, researchers have identified a number of solutions. As we review these particular solutions that the cognitive bias literature recommends, they begin to allow us to generate some nascent hypotheses about design thinking’s potential contribution.
    • Remedy: Employ ethnography
    • Hypothesis
    • Remedy: Use stories versus data
    • Remedy: Work with metaphor
    • Hypothesis
    • Remedy: Expose decision makers to divergent views
    • In relation to hypothesis testing, we find a similar set of prescriptions, researchers suggest:
    • Remedy: Create vivid and specific representations of the future
    • Remedy: Talk about the details of what success and failure look like
    • Hypothesis
    • Remedy: Pay attention to emotions
    • Hypothesis
    • Remedy: Generate multiple options
    • Hypothesis
    • Remedy: Hold after action reviews with specifics
    • Hypothesis

Step 4:  Creating Testable Hypotheses Concerning the Contribution of Design Thinking

  • Hypothesis 1 (H1): The use of a design-thinking approach that incorporates the tools of visualization, ethnography, ideating with a diverse group, and co-creation tools , will increase the novelty of the ideas surfaced during hypothesis generating processes by reducing the effects of the projection bias (the tendency to project the past onto the future).
  • Hypothesis 2 (H2): The use of a design-thinking approach that incorporates the use of  ethnography, ideating with a diverse group, and co-creation tools will increase the value-creation potential of the ideas generated through the reduction of the egocentric empathy gap (the projection of one’s own preferences onto others).
  • Hypothesis 3 (H3): The use of a design-thinking approach that incorporates the use of ethnography, optionality, ideating with a diverse group, co-creation, and field experiments,  will result in the exploration and testing of more ideas by the reduction of the focusing illusion (over emphasizing particular elements), and the endowment effect (the attachment to first solutions).
  • Hypothesis 4 (H4): The use of a design-thinking approach that incorporates visualization, co-creation, optionality, prototyping, assumption testing and field experiments will result in improved accuracy in the hypothesis testing process’ ability to estimate the likely success of the new idea,  through the reduction of the endowment effect, the availability bias (the undervaluing of more novel ideas),  the hypotheses confirmation bias (overlooking disconfirming data), the planning fallacy (over-optimism), and the impact of time (in which distant ideas are less specific and thus harder to analyze).


Download “Design Thinking: What it is and Why it Works” as http://batten.squarespace.com/storage/books-journals-articles/DSWP%2013-01%20rev%202-1.docx from Design@Darden – Academic Papers http://batten.squarespace.com/academic-papers/.

Jeanne M. Liedtka, Darden School of Business, U. of Virginia

#bandieuhoacuanphuc, #baoduongdieuhoaanphuc, #ban_dieu_hoa_cu_an_phuc, #bbqqueens, #bbqresource, #design-thinking, #grill, #ha_tuan_khang, #lapdieuhoaanhuc, #liedtka, #muadieuhoacu, #recipes, #seoconghuong, #signal_buiding, #smoker, #suadieuhoaanphuc, #testable-hypotheses, #trendy, #user_is_king

Forms of inquiry in design and research | Erik Stolterman | May 17, 2013 | Transforming Grounds

Extending Churchman’s inquiring systems to design, by @estolter and Harold G Nelson with (i) the true, (ii) the ideal, and (iii) the real.

… in the chapter “The Ultimate Particular” […] we discuss three forms or designs of inquiry and action that humans can engage in. We suggest “… that design, as presented in this book, is based on a compound form of inquiry, composed of true, ideal, and real approaches to gaining knowledge.” It is possible to also make the case that research and science also in most cases consists of compound forms of these three. There is not simple and direct mapping between them even though it may be tempting to assume that.

I will not here go into any detail about this, just copy two of the schemas we use in the chapter to show what kind of considerations are involved when anyone makes a decision on how to design a particular form of inquiry.

In Figure 1.4 (below) we present a schema that lays out several aspects of inquiry and action and how they can be understood for each of the three forms of inquiry, that is, the real, the true and the ideal. This is a quite rich schema with dense concepts, but reading each line carefully gives insights about how different the three are, but also where they are somewhat overlapping. So, in making choices about what form of inquiry to choose in your research or design, a schema like this may help since it not only explains but also provides with concepts that can guide the understanding of purpose and measure of success. For instance, you can examine what your intention is, what you motivation is, what your preferred form of understanding is, etc. Given any choice also tells you what the measure fo success should be. So, if you are truly looking for inquiry for understanding (under ‘fundamentals’) that can lead to ‘enlightenment’ of some kind, it is not appropriate to see ‘facts’ to be part of the measure of success.

Figure 1.4:  Designs of inquiry: the real, true and ideal

However, choosing a research approach or a design approach is not a simple question of deciding which ‘design of inquiry and action’ to “use”. The richness and specifics of the particular situation, your purpose and intention leads to complex considerations regarding how all three forms can inform and enrich an inquiry. This is shown in Figure 1.5 below.

Figure 1.5: Design inquiry: an emergent  compound

Design or research is never a question of finding out what the correct or best existing approach is, instead it is a complex process of judgment that weighs all aspects in an attempt to reach an approach that makes sense, that is guided by intention, that has a purpose and is based on a clear understanding of what the measure of success is.

Forms of inquiry in design and research | Erik Stolterman | May 17, 2013 | Transforming Grounds at http://transground.blogspot.com/2013/05/forms-of-inquiry-in-design-and-research.html.

#design, #design-thinking, #inquiring, #inquiry, #systems-thinking

2012/11/07 09:10 John Pourdehnad, “Developing a System Thinking Mindset with a Design Thinking Approach in Creating Transformational Enterprise Solutions from Smart Integration of Latest technologies”

Cascon 2012 in Markham, ON, Canada: Plenary talk by @jp2consult, John Pourdehnad, U. of Pennsylvania

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship, posted on the by David Ing.

Introduction by Joanna Ng

Realization that software development requires culture change, for users

John Pourdehnad

  • Associate Director of Training and Consulting Services at the School of Arts and Sciences and adjunct Professor of Systems and Design Thinking at The University of Pennsylvania

Forgiveness for two things

  • Wearing tie, soft systems person amongst hard systems people
  • Tired, blame Mitt Romney, it would have been better if he had conceded at 10 p.m.

Behind every decision is a thought

  • Quality of decision will trace back to quality of thinking
  • System of decision making

Literature, around management and decision making is all about thinking: lateral, hybrid, systems, design

  • Design Institute at Stanford promoting pivot thinking, think that it helps with being more innovative

What’s behind the enthusiasm behind developing all of these ways of thinking?

  • 1. Albert Einstein: we can’t solve problems by using the same type of thinking we used when we created them
  • Russ Ackoff would start his lectures with Albert Einstein quote: executives would nod their heads, but none would know the implications

2. T3E, Type III errors, solving the wrong problems

  • Class of problems not amendable to mathematical formulation

3. Innovation:  today, we don’t need innovation in products or services

  • In order to be innovative, have to start thinking out of the box, which requires changing thinking

4.  Problem solving strategies

  • Instead of resolving the problem, dissolve the problem

5. Complexity

  • Defined, in interactive or dynamic complexity, a myriad of relationships, everything in flux
  • Difficult to model, know what’s going
  • Dave Snowden Cynefin model: could be simple, chaotic, complex or complicated context
  • Context for decision-making today is diverse
  • Look around situation awareness, developed for U.S. airforce, now being used in healthcare, in emergency room
  • Most human errors is because the human being doesn’t know what situations in which they’re operating
  • Simple:  The domain of benchmarking, observing from others, bringing back
  • Complicated:  Solution is in the domain of expertise
  • Complexity:  The solution is in the domain of emergence, need to bring the requisite minds to bring people together for a solution
  • Chaotic:  The domain of good response, don’t have to wait and see patterns

Approach of Barack Obama not quite right, instead of saying that we know what to do isn’t right

One size does not fit all

Took framework from Snowden, and looked under conditions of simple, complicated, complex and chaotic, asked about competencies required

Simple and complicated versus complex and chaotic

Management, versus leadership that can navigate through

  • Book:  Qantas 32, flight engine exploded, fragments went into the other subsystems of plane, flight should have crashed, but landed safely, attributed to quality of pilots, of which was 2 plus other who were along for the ride

Predict and forecast, versus anticipating

  • Keep it simple stupid, becomes to the detriment in complex and chaotic
  • Systems thinking can help, as can deal with the interconnected

Paying detail to small details, versus paying attention to relationships

Rational thinking, versus intuitive thinking

  • When we can’t create mathematical models, have people who can create mental models

Most adult training is in skills, should augment with cognitive abilities

Problem solving has been focus in traditional business schools with analytical thinking as inductive and deductive logic, need to change to dissolve problems with design thinking through abductive logic

  • Ph.D. and architects given the same problem
  • Ph.D. analyzed for some time, but architects using design thinking solve it in no time
  • Roger Martin:  abductive logic as what should be or can be

Need this to get workforce to deal with dynamic complexity

Peter Senge, Fifth Discipline, popularized systems thinking

  • Look through systems:  biological systems, systemic properties
  • Can’t, through reductionistic approach, analyze that property to understand parts separately

In biological systems, parts are purposive, purpose was given

  • Heart can’t want to be a kidney
  • In a social system, parts are purposeful, capable of exhibiting choice, making dealing with social systems difficult
  • Not deterministic, mechanistic and predictable
  • Don’t know next time I’m at the conference if Joanne will treat me the same

What is a system?

  • Elements within a system are interrelated
  • Has implications on how you design the system
  • Have to demonstrate that the part will increase the performance of the system as a whole
  • Have to shift the method of inquiry

Changes in method of inquiry

  • From analytic thinking to systems thinking
  • Need both analytic thinking, but also synthetic thinking
  • A good systems thinker has to be able to create a feasible whole out of seemingly infeasible parts
  • Take parts, make win win for both size

From analysis, need synthesis

  • Started as mechanical engineer, started with reductionism
  • With systems thinking, start with expansionism, what is the containing system

Mechanical systems may explain through cause and effect, but social systems are producer-product

  • Outcome as produced by a number of things
  • Never look for one cause
  • First place to look is in the containing system
  • Instead of blaming the person, look at the conditions under which those decisions were made
  • Hospital in Baltimore, parking lot attendee would have an expression as to why are you here, but then talking to executive, they’re not paying attention
  • Compare to Southwest Airlines, they have flight attendants that always smile
  • People who recruit cabin attendants have to see that smiling is a natural act
  • Calling a doctor to tell going to Canada, nurse takes record, doctor will call back in 5 to 7 days, doctor never gets message

In analytical thinking, embark on research, but in systems thinking, use design, even to understand what the consumer want

  • Get consumer to help with design

When you change mindset, see things differently (Vincent Barabba, Decision Loom)

  • Silos with deep knowledge
  • Systems model can be drawn as a network of nodes
  • Silos have deep functional knowledge
  • Challenge: how to keep deep functional knowledge, and get breadth of organizational knowledge

Design thinking, recognition that designers are quick to identify designs that are superior to solve problems

  • In both systems thinking and design thinking, have different methods
  • Most famous company is Ideo, working with Stanford and D-Institute
  • Ideo has deep dive
  • Rotman has integrative thinking
  • Russ Ackoff had idealized design

Most important, recognition is the role of users

  • Designing FOR users
  • Designing WITH users, which is what Ideo does, ethnographic, e.g. going to hospital and spending 3 days looking at ceiling
  • Designing BY users:  putting users in the design situation, they’ll tell you value
  • Ackoff participated in interior design of Boeing 787:  big windows

Idealized design

  • A methodology that involves the stakeholder of the system, in cocreation of that system

New York Times article on George Washington bridge

  • In 1970s, problem was so many head-on collisions
  • 4 players in situation:  Port Authority who owned; policy and emergency services; Columbia Presbyterian Medical Centre is close
  • Reductionistic was first to try to independently reduce fatality
  • Port Authority was painting yellow lines, not much improvement
  • Police writing fines on drivers crossing lines, not much result
  • Emergency services with better ambulances and communications equipment
  • Hospital and emergence room measuring by number of lines save
  • Finally, did a system redesign:  continuous improvement not working
  • Decided to replace solid yellow pained lines with solid concrete boundaries
  • Engage in reduction of accidents that than finding a better way to respond to accidents
  • Seems so obvious

Intentional integration of systems mindset and design thinking in the context of this conference

  • Should look at design thinking
  • Designs have unintended consequences, e.g. pollution from car


With users of software, designing FOR, WITH, who to differentiate between purchasers and users

  • Customers versus consumers
  • Customers pay for service, but may not be consumer
  • Customers need feedback
  • Consumer use
  • In systems, draw, and see concentric circles
  • Right now, am designing the Professional Liberal Arts program, containing whole is in Arts and Science, which is in the containing U. of Pennsylvania, look at impacts
  • Start with expanding scope
  • If going to use third generation design, bring consumers into the design mode
  • Have done this with products, services
  • All men are designers
  • In projects, the best designs came from the people with whom there were least expectations
  • e.g. hospital janitorial services, wanted to bring in janitors, two vps asked if really wanted janitors, said yes, they weren’t going to be uncomfortable; then best design came from 9 janitors

Innovation and linked data, benefit of interaction with other parts of systems, the system is so large, with client that aren’t there yet.  How to think about a system that is large, with parts that aren’t identified

  • Crowdsourcing:  time to appeal to the wisdom of a larger crowd
  • Two projects with 362 and 260 people, used technology
  • Some work with Accenture, using Cisco technology, could run design sessions virtually
  • The most difficult part will be at the beginning
  • When talking about a system, need to draw a boundary, specify components, which containing systems
  • When looking at a system, interested in systemic policies
  • Howard Schultz, Starbucks, success of operation when coffee in blind tests ranks low, he said not selling coffee, selling the Starbucks experience, which emerges out of the interaction of 3 P’s:  people, product, place
  • Hospital, measure as quality of care they give? Showed that had people who had high quality care that didn’t want to go back to the hospital, one woman said had MRI but were so rude; were given the best room but then 2 hours later staff came in and said that they needed the equipment in the room, thinking that it was going to some bigwig donor

Joanna Ng:  Software development shifting towards verticals, which requires systems thinking

  • We think silos, e.g. mobile is mobile
  • But selling to silos, customers ask huh, did you give me the car in parts
  • When individuals come from acquisitions, often think in silos, as acquired to fill a technology gap
  • But then need to get across technology silos, as will get frustrated as people don’t talk to each other
  • From research to design to marketing to business decisions in the product team, there are more silos
  • Not because one company is better than another, it’s that organizational boundaries can be broken through with thinking strategies
  • At the very beginning of introducing the concept, towards walking the talk

#design-thinking, #pourdehnad, #systems-thinking