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14 SEPTEMBER 2015

Design for Action: designing the immaterial artefact

"Throughout most of history, design was a process applied to physical objects. Raymond Loewy designed trains. Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Charles Eames designed furniture. Coco Chanel designed haute couture. Paul Rand designed logos. David Kelley designed products, including (most famously) the mouse for the Apple computer.

But as it became clear that smart, effective design was behind the success of many commercial goods, companies began employing it in more and more contexts. High-tech firms that hired designers to work on hardware (to, say, come up with the shape and layout of a smartphone) began asking them to create the look and feel of user-interface software. Then designers were asked to help improve user experiences. Soon firms were treating corporate strategy making as an exercise in design. Today design is even applied to helping multiple stakeholders and organizations work better as a system.

This is the classic path of intellectual progress. Each design process is more complicated and sophisticated than the one before it. Each was enabled by learning from the preceding stage. Designers could easily turn their minds to graphical user interfaces for software because they had experience designing the hardware on which the applications would run. Having crafted better experiences for computer users, designers could readily take on nondigital experiences, like patients' hospital visits. And once they learned how to redesign the user experience in a single organization, they were more prepared to tackle the holistic experience in a system of organizations."

(Tim Brown and Roger Martin, 2015, Harvard Business Review)

A version of this article appeared in the September 2015 issue (pp.56–64) of Harvard Business Review.

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TAGS

Bill BuxtonCharles EamesCoco Chanelcomplex systems • David Kelley • design history • design intervention • design processdesign thinking • design-oriented approach • design-oriented thinkingdesigned artefactethnographic design approachFrank Lloyd Wright • genuinely innovative strategies • graphical user interfaceHarvard Business ReviewHerbert Simon • holistic user experience • IDEOimmateriality • intervention design • iPoditerative prototyping • iterative rapid-cycle prototyping • iTunes Store • Jeff Hawkins • look and feellow-fidelity prototype • low-resolution prototype • nondigital experiences • PalmPilot • Paul Randpersonal digital assistantphysical objectsrapid prototyping • Raymond Loewy • redesignRichard Buchananrole of the designerservice designuser experienceuser experience designuser feedbackuser interface designwicked problems

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
15 JUNE 2012

Managing interdisciplinarity: a discussion of the contextual review in design research

"Although the debate about disciplinary status has not interrupted the production of innovative design research, as a relatively recent member of academia's 'tribes and territories' (Becher 1989) design is still establishing its disciplinary characteristics as a general research field and a set of specialist sub–fields. There is, for instance, some debate about whether design scholarship should include creative practice and reflection (for a sample of contrasting positions see Bayazit 2004; Downton 2001; Durling 2002; Roth 1999). Since a majority of design issues originate in everyday life individual design research questions are unlikely to fit specific disciplinary boundaries, the idea that design research definitively engages with multiple fields and literatures being widely acknowledged (Poggenpohl et al 2004). These considerations have contributed to the debate as to whether design research should conform to established models from the sciences and humanities or develop its own integral approaches. We suggest, however, that a greater focus on design's applied nature and inherent interdisciplinarity could profitably overtake the quest for disciplinary clarity."

(Carolyn Barnes and Gavin Melles, 2007)

1). Proceedings of 'Emerging Trends in Design Research', the International Association of Societies of Design Research (IASDR) Conference, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, 12–15 November 2007

TAGS

academiaacademic disciplines • applied design research • applied nature of design • applied research • Barbel Tress • Carolyn Barnes • contextual frameworks • contextual review • contextualised application • creative practice and reflection • cross-disciplinary • David Durling • design issuesdesign research • design research questions • design scholarshipdisciplinary boundaries • disciplinary characteristics • disciplinary clarity • disciplinary status • Ernest Boyer • established models • everyday life • Gary Fry • Gavin Melles • general research field • Gunther Tress • higher education • Hilla Becher • IASDR • industry-oriented knowledge • innovative design research • intellectual challenge • interdisciplinarityinterdisciplinary knowledgeInternational Association of Societies of Design Researchknowledgeknowledge production • methods and principles • Mode 1Mode 2 • Mode 2 knowledge production • multifaceted social situations • multiple fields • multiple research fields • narrative case studies • Nigan Bayazit • non-disciplinary knowledge • orthodox disciplinary knowledge • Peter Downton • Praima Chayutsahakij • professional doctorate • reflexive knowledge • researchresearch students • research supervisors • review of literatureRichard Buchanansciences and humanities • set of specialist sub-fields • Sharon Poggenpohl • situated knowledge • sources of knowledge • Susan Roth • Swinburne University of Technology • tribes and territories • vocational foundations

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
23 MARCH 2012

Autumn 2012: Design and Social Innovation

"There is a growing interest in the role that design can play in catalysing, harnessing, spreading and scaling social innovation around the world. This is expressed in two key ways:

> by a growing number of professional designers and design disciplines applying their skills to addressing social issues; and

> by the adoption of design tools, techniques and methods by a growing number of other disciplines focused on developing social innovation.

Perhaps the most recognisable facet of this interest has been the rise of 'design thinking' not only in business, but increasingly in public service and policy fields. Fuelled by design agencies such as IDEO in the US, non–profit bodies such as the Design Council in the UK, and education institutions such as Stanford's 'd.school', design thinking has begun to be recognised as a key ingredient underpinning innovation (whether that be social innovation or not). Indeed, according to Sir George Cox, past chairman of the Design Council, design is what bridges creativity (the generation of new ideas) and innovation (the successful implementation of new ideas). In other words, design could be described as:

'the human power to conceive, plan, and realize products that serve human beings in the accomplishment of any individual or collective purpose' (Richard Buchanan, 2001)."

(Ingrid Burkett, Knowledge Connect)

Fig.1 AT.AW [http://www.at–aw.com]

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TAGS

2012action learning • catalysing social innovation • change observercitizenshipcivil societyclients • collective purpose • community services • conceive ideas • constituents • consumersCourtney Drake • critical insight • critical literature • critical thinking • cross-sector • d.school • deign approaches • design agenciesdesign approaches • design bridges creativity and innovation • Design Council (UK)design disciplinesdesign fielddesign innovationdesign methodsDesign Observer (magazine)design techniquesdesign thinkingdesign toolsdesignersdifferent perspectives • diversity of disciplines • education institutions • George Cox • harnessing social innovation • idea generationIDEO • individual purpose • Jacqueline Wechsler • Joanne Hutchinson • logframe • logframe analysis • long-term change • NESTAnew ideas • Open Book of Social Innovation • plan ideas • political reactionism • previous learning • professional designersprototypingpublic policy • public service • public services • real change • realise products • Richard Buchanan • scaling social innovation • School of Management • School of Visual Arts in New York • service implementation • serving human beings • significant change • social design • social ills • social innovation • Social Innovation Branch in DEEWR • social interventionsocial issuessocial policysocial sciencesocial sector • spreading social innovation • Stanford Universitystrategic planning • strategy and planning • successful implementation • the role that design • underpinning innovation • User-Centred Design (UCD)users • Vera Sacchetti • William DrenttelYale University • Young Foundation

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
26 MAY 2005

Research designs: basic, applied, clinical

"an important distinction that is employed by universities as well as corporate and governmental funding agencies. From the perspective of the type of problem addressed, research may be clinical, applied, or basic. ... Clinical research is, as the name suggests, directed toward an individual case. ... Clinical research focuses on the problem for action that the designer faces. To solve a particular, individual design problem, it is essential to gather whatever information or understanding may be relevant in its solution....applied research is directed towards problems that are discovered in a general class of products or situations. ... The common trait of applied research in design is the attempt to gather from many individual cases a hypothesis or several hypotheses that may explain how the design of a class of products takes place, the kind of reasoning that is effective in design for that class, and so forth. The third type of research is basic. It is research directed towards fundamental problems in understanding the principles–and sometimes the first principles–which govern and explain phenomena."
(Richard Buchanan, 2001)

[2] Buchanan, R. (2001). 'Design Research and the New Learning.' Design Issues 17(4, Autumn): 10, 17–18.

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