Saturday, January 29, 2011

Reflections: Design (ing)

"Design as an everyday process: Who designs?
“Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones." Herbert Simon
Thus, design as a type of problem solving involves an array of cognitive skills which include both systematic and chaotic thinking. It can deal with very precise and rather vague ideas; and requires linear or rational and imaginative calculation. It has been acknowledged that the design process comprises definite steps, but these steps do not necessarily occur in any specific sequence (Lawson, 2006). At some point the process involves identifying a problem and coming up with as many possible solutions in order to build a bridge between the problem and the solution; thus developing a clearer understanding of both of these simultaneously. Briefly described it can be summarized as an adhoc “pose-search-generate-test” model.
However, many have suggested that there is a clearly defined linearity to the process. There are many recorded models which can be viewed as flexible and adaptable outlines created to assist problem solving efficiency. These were constructed from a compilation of data collected in studies of the problem solving process in a variety of fields.

About everyday design: Problem solving is an everyday activity because problems are an everyday occurrence. Design is an activity that occurs on a daily basis and within every facet of life. Everyone designs: from preschool kids, self starters to doctors, housewives, artist and teachers. Design is about ‘…finding the optimum solution in a particular set of circumstances’ (Hanks, Belliston and Edwards, 1978). It involves using what we know and our available resources to make a plan or come up with a relevant strategy or solution. An example of an everyday design activity would be human communication: stringing elements together, be it words, numbers, sounds or visuals, in order to deal with the problem of communicating our ideas, wants or needs.

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