A random collection of things that inspire, interest and trouble me
from the world of design, politics, art and culture.

Service Design in Sydney, a healthy community of practice

Posted: February 10th, 2011 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: design thinking, participatory design, service design | Tags: , | 4 Comments »

On Wednesday evening Digital Eskimo, those fine purveyors of all things sustainable in design, hosted Design Thinking Drinks. Present were members of the service and interaction design community, as well as customer-centred designers from financial institutions and a few interested members of the public. It was an extremely engaging and uplifting night that has given me a very positive sense of the Service Design community of practice in Sydney.

The evening began with a short introduction from the founder of Digital Eskimo, Dave Gravina, on the company’s history and philosophy, more of which you can read here. After a short break Deborah Kneeshaw introduced Penny Hagen, a DE alumni and phD candidate. Penny spoke about her research and considered approach to participatory design in the realm of social technologies. Afterwards, discussion was invited. Here are some brief points on the discussion:

Defining value
One of the first topics discussed was the importance of expressing design methodology in concrete terms to clients who do not understand design (but are paying the bills). It was generally agreed that expressing a defined process is an essential part of convincing clients to approve budget for a project. Read the rest of this entry »


Design thinking: a combination of 'what is' with 'what could be'

Posted: November 11th, 2009 | Author: ktcita | Filed under: design thinking | Tags: , , | No Comments »

Roger Martin from Canada’s Rotman School of Management encourages his MBA students to practise design thinking which he defines as a combination of analytical and intuitive thinking. The analytical part is the more traditional business way of thinking which studies the current and past business environment in order to make decisions in a reliable way. The intuitive part is the more traditional ‘designerly’ way of thinking that is less quantifiable but more future-looking and imaginative. He calls people who can think this multi-faceted way ‘integrative thinkers’. He puts it very well in saying design thinking is a combination of ‘what is’ with ‘what could be’. You can watch this interview with Martin on Fast Company.

In the interview he contrasts his own business-focused design thinking book with Tim Brown’s which is more from a designer’s point of view. This at first seems obvious knowing that Brown works for one of the world’s leading design firms, but Martin postulates (correctly imo), that many designers do not actually practice design thinking—even though it has the word design in it—hence the need for books like Brown’s that look at the problem through the lense of design.

Is it a problem that designers do not know how to combine strategic business thinking with their own creative practice? Yes. And is this a problem of design education? I think so. It always irked me that the design schools I have attended and taught at are geographically and theoretically isolated from the rest of the university. How can designers and business people learn to work together if they don’t cross paths until after their formative years? There are business schools (such as Rotman, Cass and I am sure many others) that are starting to integrate design thinking into their curriculum, but I don’t know of any design schools that are doing the same. Now there’s a challenge.