Design Thinking: New Innovative Thinking for New Problems
In this article, Rikke Dam and Teo Siang address Design Thinking, and how it is increasingly important in a world with complex intertwined problems. One aspect of Design Thinking that I found interesting was its emphasis on human centered innovation and humans as opposed to users. In order to address problems based on human needs it is increasingly difficult to approach them using linear or technical approaches. When human centered interaction is emphasized all of a sudden it becomes much easier to think in terms of what “could be” as opposed to thinking in merely practical terms. This type of thinking is what births true innovation.
Another thing that I found interesting about Dam and Teo’s article was their equation of mindset + team + environment = innovation. The idea of having the right “mindset” never occurred to me but I realize now that it is important harness open and explorative ways of thinking as well as logical ones in order to create innovative solutions. The use of innovative teams are also an important part of the design thinking process. Dam and Teo mention that “boxed” organization of talent where one type of skill are confined to certain jobs and departments won’t be enough to solve the problems we face today.
The most interesting part of the Innovation Equation for me was the need to create environments conducive to innovation. When Dam and Teo talked about the importance of having a dynamic workspace and the fact that companies like google spend large amounts of money to do so made me wonder about my own environment. I wonder how much of an impact can a dynamically designed room, kitchen, or classroom have and wether there are things that I could do to improve my current environment
There Is No Interface (Without a User) A Cybernetic Perspective on Interaction
In this Journal Lasse Scherffig takes a look at the history of design interaction as well as the relationship between the user and the interface. In the journal, Scherffig counters the idea that interfaces are designed and exist before they are used. Instead Scherffig claims that the interface in itself does not exist but rather comes into being as it is used. For me, this was a difficult concept to wrap my head around. To me it makes sense to think about interfaces both ways, as a framework that exists, and as a product of user interaction.
Scherffig takes a brief look back to the origins of interaction and the evolution that took place in computing. He goes all the way back to the 1940s at MIT where “analog” or continuous computing was used at first to build a flight simulator. As the project progress its designers became more interested in “digital” computing and eventually scrapped the idea of the flight simulator and designed one of the first digital computers named “Whirlwind”. I think this is a good example of how something important was “stumbled upon” and relates back to the process of innovation mentioned in the first article.
I found the idea of ensuring that the user has a “mental model” or idea of how a system should work an important one especially since it is something to keep in mind for my design project. The idea of moving the system closer to the user and the use of direct manipulation are also important fundamental ideas that I should think about in my design project.
Play as Research, The Iterative Design process
In this article Eric Zimmerman highlights the viability and importance of play as a means of research and work. He chooses games as a prime example of something that is and end to itself and is designed as a form of delight. Zimmerman argues that the best way to to create games is through the iterative process which is a circular process of test, analyze, refine. This process is something that can be applied to everything and could be a valuable tool when in my design project.
Zimmerman uses specific games as case studies for the iterative process. He describes the experience of games that he’s worked on such as Sissyfight as well as other games like Loop and Lego Junkbot. In the development of these games he highlights the intense process of questioning, testing, and prototyping that is used in order to achieve the end result.
Zimmerman then moves on to describe his company Gamelabs a game development studio. In it he talks about creating a unique environment where play becomes synonymous with research and work. The company had an environment designed to foster play, creativity, and empower individuals to seek out what was interesting to them. This reminded me of Dam and Siang’s article where they briefly mention companies like google creating dynamic work environments in order to foster innovation.