Skills and Theory of Generative Design Research

Lauren Serota
Professor, Austin Center for Design
Ethnography

Synthesis

Prototyping

Defined as:

The study and systematic recording of
human cultures.



-Merriam-Webster...
Design Research

An approach and collection of
tools that provide a way of
seeing the world around us in
order to design r...
Design Research

An approach and collection of
tools that provide a way of
seeing the world around us in
order to design r...
Design Research

An approach and collection of
tools that provide a way of
seeing the world around us in
order to design r...
Design Research

An approach and collection of
tools that provide a way of
seeing the world around us in
order to design r...
Design is problem solving. 
Design research is problem seeking.

7
We have the liberty to ask “why,” to
be curious and to be wrong.

8
As Designers,

Design Research allows us to:

•  Define and describe a problem/opportunity
•  Be inspired to create appropr...
As a business tool,

Design Research:

•  Creates alignment across teams, cultures, corporate
structures, partners, etc.
•...
*Important Disclaimers:

Design Research is not science.
Design Research is not about right and wrong.
Design Research is ...
Design Research ≠ Market Research
Market Research is thing-centric, using qualitative
approaches to have conversations wit...
Why Design Research?
Why now?

13
The user is not like me.

16
Defining DR

Though we have plenty to talk about, I do not know what it is like
to be a Community Health Worker / Teacher /...
Defining DR

I know people who are pilots. Do I know, in detail what their
training was like? Who made them want to be a pi...
Defining DR

Many of us can empathize with this scene. However, no matter
how familiar it is, this woman’s experience is un...
user-centered design
stakeholder-centered design

20
Customer
Needs

Business & Technology
Goals

21
Customer
Needs

Creative
Intuition

DESIGN

Business & Technology
Goals

22
“If I asked people what they
wanted, they would have said
faster horses.”



-Henry Ford. 



23
Design Research has its roots in modern social sciences.

Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942)


Brought anthropology “off the ...
It also has roots in Industrial Design.

Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972)


”[the designer] accepts the responsibility of his
po...
Through Design Research, you will learn how to:

-Inspire appropriate and holistic design solutions
-Build a compelling fo...
Through Design Research, you will learn how to:

-Inspire appropriate and holistic design solutions
-Build a compelling fo...
“After all the tests didn’t really show
anything, I continued fatigued for the next 6
months unable to work. Part of me de...
Lauren Serota
Professor, Austin Center for Design
lserota@ac4d.com


Download our free book,
Wicked Problems: Problems Wor...
AC4D design library skills and theory of design research
AC4D design library skills and theory of design research
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AC4D design library skills and theory of design research

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Austin Center for Design is an
educational institution in Austin, Texas,
teaching Interaction Design and Social Entrepreneurship
- See more at: http://www.ac4d.com/home/news/#sthash.SYjQ5U6H.dpuf

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Published in: Design, Technology, Business

AC4D design library skills and theory of design research

  1. 1. Skills and Theory of Generative Design Research Lauren Serota Professor, Austin Center for Design
  2. 2. Ethnography Synthesis Prototyping Defined as: The study and systematic recording of human cultures. -Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary. 2010. We use it to Gain an understanding of a unique situation and empathy with other people. 2
  3. 3. Design Research An approach and collection of tools that provide a way of seeing the world around us in order to design responsibly. 3
  4. 4. Design Research An approach and collection of tools that provide a way of seeing the world around us in order to design responsibly. 4
  5. 5. Design Research An approach and collection of tools that provide a way of seeing the world around us in order to design responsibly. 5
  6. 6. Design Research An approach and collection of tools that provide a way of seeing the world around us in order to design responsibly. 6
  7. 7. Design is problem solving. Design research is problem seeking. 7
  8. 8. We have the liberty to ask “why,” to be curious and to be wrong. 8
  9. 9. As Designers, Design Research allows us to: •  Define and describe a problem/opportunity •  Be inspired to create appropriate solutions •  Become informed enough to speak intelligently about the space 9
  10. 10. As a business tool, Design Research: •  Creates alignment across teams, cultures, corporate structures, partners, etc. •  Provokes an organization – sometimes to think differently •  Leverages the universal language of stories •  Ties concepts back to an observed and defined need state 10
  11. 11. *Important Disclaimers: Design Research is not science. Design Research is not about right and wrong. Design Research is qualitative, not quantitative. In quantitative research findings, we can see patterns based on prompts. These are rational findings, which are fantastic for evaluating ideas or down-selecting. What we cannot get is why these patterns are happening – what makes each individual’s experience important and unique. With qualitative contextual research, we can obtain the context and stories that are critical to design. Qualitative research allows us to explore why. 11
  12. 12. Design Research ≠ Market Research Market Research is thing-centric, using qualitative approaches to have conversations with customers in order to make a decision, refine a product or determine a winning concept. Design Research uses qualitative research –in context - to see and hear everything about a topic. 12
  13. 13. Why Design Research? Why now? 13
  14. 14. The user is not like me. 16
  15. 15. Defining DR Though we have plenty to talk about, I do not know what it is like to be a Community Health Worker / Teacher / Mother to 5 in rural Zambia. 17
  16. 16. Defining DR I know people who are pilots. Do I know, in detail what their training was like? Who made them want to be a pilot? What company makes their favorite headset? Nope. 18
  17. 17. Defining DR Many of us can empathize with this scene. However, no matter how familiar it is, this woman’s experience is unique. As is her husband’s, the man in the back’s, and so on. 19
  18. 18. user-centered design stakeholder-centered design 20
  19. 19. Customer Needs Business & Technology Goals 21
  20. 20. Customer Needs Creative Intuition DESIGN Business & Technology Goals 22
  21. 21. “If I asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” -Henry Ford. 23
  22. 22. Design Research has its roots in modern social sciences. Bronislaw Malinowski (1884-1942) Brought anthropology “off the verandah” Attempted to analyze behavior and social systems using constructs familiar to him (motives, social structure, etc.). Clifford Geertz (1926-2006) Made popular “thick description” Culture = not just behavior, but behavior in context Prominent in immersive ethnography 24
  23. 23. It also has roots in Industrial Design. Henry Dreyfuss (1904-1972) ”[the designer] accepts the responsibility of his position as liaison linking management, engineering, and the consumer and co-operates with all three.” John Christopher Jones (1927-present) “Design as the process of devising not individual products but whole systems or environments.” 25
  24. 24. Through Design Research, you will learn how to: -Inspire appropriate and holistic design solutions -Build a compelling foundation for design decisions -Include practical empathy as part of your design process 26
  25. 25. Through Design Research, you will learn how to: -Inspire appropriate and holistic design solutions -Build a compelling foundation for design decisions -Include practical empathy as part of your design process What is the difference between practical empathy and emotional empathy? 27
  26. 26. “After all the tests didn’t really show anything, I continued fatigued for the next 6 months unable to work. Part of me deep down knew I was going to have cancer.” - Wendy, on the 8 months of illness and negative lab results leading to her cancer diagnosis. 28
  27. 27. Lauren Serota Professor, Austin Center for Design lserota@ac4d.com Download our free book, Wicked Problems: Problems Worth Solving, at http://www.wickedproblems.com
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