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Showing posts from October, 2012

Design's expansion into the 'Invisible'

Recently an excellent article by Tom Fisher, the Dean of the School of Design at the U. Minnesota, titled Design's Invisible Century , provided an exceptional frame for understanding the evolving nature of design. The article makes a contrast with science's 'invisible' century, the 20th Century, when scientist thought they had 'seen' everything and suddenly the sciences of the 'unseen' realms of physics, chemistry, and psychology et. al. exploded into 'view' resulting in a scientific renaissance. The case is made in the article that design is now facing the same sort of renaissance in the 21st Century, in the realms of the 'invisible', as did science in the last century. Most formalized design fields are defined by their domains of 'visibility' but design is expanding into more 'invisible' domains. An example is design's expansion into other professions such as management. A seminal conference was hosted at Case Wes

Nelson Nierenberg Lecture 2009

Nierenberg Distinguished Professor of Design Lecture 2009 Carnegie Mellon University

Design, Wicked Problems & Throwness

Horst Rittel is one of the seminal residents in my 'Berkeley Bubble'. Recently a friend and colleague sent me an article about ‘double-wickedproblems’ . I have become ever more aware of the increasing number of references to ‘wicked problems’ in all forms of media that seem to have missed Rittel’s deeper insights . This brought up the concern I have about the use and miss-use of the term ‘wicked problem’.  The term ‘wicked problem’, first introduced by Rittel in West Churchman’s seminars at Berkeley, was in reference to his conceptualization of the impossible challenge of dealing with significant social issues using traditional, rational, ‘problem solving’ methods. In most cases what are miss-diangnosed as ‘wicked problems’ are actually complex or complicated problems that can be simplified or broken into smaller 'tame' problems allowing for a straight forward 'problem solving' approach to be taken. This approach is believed by many to be capable

Systems Thinking and Design Thinking Seminar

I recently returned from a very successful seminar hosted by the Systems Oriented Design program in the School of Architecture and Design (AHO), Oslo, Norway. The seminar drew together the authors of  chapters to be published in a proposed book edited by Birger Sevaldson (focused on the relationship between systems and design) plus faculty and graduates students at AHO. The hope was that this seminar would be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue among scholars, practitioners and students from around the world on the relationship between systems thinking and design thinking.