Designing the Design Problem

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This talk is about how to marry your innate skills in creative problem solving with the evolving practice of "problem making" to better serve both clients and users in crafting compelling products, services, and experiences. It was presented at Creativity Oklahoma's online conference on applied creativity for art and design, along with Scott Belsky, CEO of Behance.

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Designing the Design Problem

  1. Designing the Design Problem David Sherwin 26 May 2010 Photo 4598317299 by Nasa Goddard Photo & Video remix cc license at flickr.com
  2. I have a problem with how we describe design problems.
  3. Problem (n.): A question or matter involving doubt, uncertainty, or difficulty
  4. These are not design problems: Why aren’t our customers interested buying our new product line? What new services should we create to keep up with our competitors? How can we avert disasters caused by disease?
  5. To answer these questions, we need to redesign our notion of what a problem represents.
  6. Problems are spaces for change from the real to the ideal. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 6
  7. Closed problems How might we repair a flat tire? “A dead man is in a room with 53 bicycles. What happened?” Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 7
  8. “ W I T H o P e n - e n D e D P ro b l e m s o n e CA n o n ly o f f e r s u g g esT I o n s As To H oW T H e P ro b l e m m I g H T b e s o lv e D.” — e DWA r D D e b o n o Open-ended problems Design problems (complex) Corporate problems (X-problems) World problems (wicked) Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 8
  9. To l e A r n m o r e A b o u T TAC k l I n g X- P ro b l e m s As PA rT o f P ro D u CT & s e rv I C e I n n ovAT I o n , r e A D i n n Ovat i O n X by f ro g D es I g n ’s A DA m r I C H A r Ds o n . Corporate problems (X-problems) Automotive mobile music real estate Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 9
  10. World problems (wicked) AIDs epidemic Poverty Hunger Peak energy Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 10
  11. We navigate through problem spaces to identify opportunities for positive change—by design. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 11
  12. Example: Project Masiluleke frog design, Pop!tech, iTeach, Praekelt, Aricent, nokia siemens and a number of other collaborators http://www.frogdesign.com/services/project-masiluleke.html Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 12
  13. South Africa hasgreatest burden of HIv / AIDs south Africa has the the greatest burden of HIV / AIDS in the world. KwaZulu- in the world. kwaZulu-natal province is one of the hardest hit regions in south Africa, with Natal province is infection rate. hardest a 40% one of the hit regions in South African. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 13
  14. HIV / AIDS has overwhelmed the healthcare system. 80-90% of hospital How can we use design to foster beds are filled with AIDS patients. There the kind of change that influences are 7,000 counselors in the entirety of this world problem? South Africa serving 48 million people. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 14
  15. 1 Put everything you know aside. Treat your research as data. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 15
  16. I n fo r m AT I o n . o P I n I o n s. b e l I e fs. e m oT I o n s. P oss I b l I T I es. m e T r I Cs. I n D I CATo rs. A l l o f I T I s DATA . DAtA (N): Information output by a sensing device or organ that includes both useful and irrelevant or redundant information and must be processed to be meaningful. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 16
  17. R E M Ov E E X i st i n g Pat t E R n s by: WITHHolDIng juDgmenT m A k I n g A m ess cOMPEtItORS C o D I n g by T y P e Directly o f DATA competing, CA l l I n g e v e ry complementary, tRENDS Ass e rT I o n or comparative Large-scale A H y P oT H es I s actions in markets societal or market g I v I n g DATA eq uA l forces surfacing v I s uA l s I Z e over time HUMAN BEHAVIOR the behavior of people observed in context ORGANIzAtION the “toolbox” of what a client can provide: IP, technologies, labor, culture Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 17
  18. DATA C u l l e D f ro m f ro g ’s P roj eCT m As I lu l e k e “How do you deliver information— which is what a diagnosis is— young men in at the lowest south Africa possible cost…” continue to avoid George Whitesides AIDs testing— 85% are less “I don’t want likely to test. people to see me standing in queues. I want it to be private there are 7,000 and secret.” AIDS counselors in the entirety of South Africa serving 48 million people. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 18
  19. live with your research data. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 19
  20. 2 Cluster the data into insights, making new connections. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 20
  21. Making insight Happen Action steps Backburner File for reference b e H A n C e ACT I o n m e T H o D Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 21
  22. Making insight Happen Action steps Actionable Insight Backburner Indicative Data File for reference Dismissed Data b e H A n C e ACT I o n m e T H o D “ I n s I g H T ACT I o n m e T H o D ” Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 22
  23. sy n t H Es i z E t H E data . b eg I n To C lu sT e r I n s I g H Ts, s e e I n g H oW D I f f e r e n T T y P es o f I n fo r m AT I o n s P e A k To T H e m es. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 23
  24. e AC H I n s I g H T s H o u l D b e A s u m m AT I o n — o n A n e W sT I C ky n oT e— o f A rA I n b oW o f DATA P o I n Ts. INSIGHt A single sentence describing what the data indicates. x5 x6 x4 x7 Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 24
  25. “How do you deliver information— which is what a diagnosis is— at the lowest young men in south Africa INSIGHt possible cost…” continue to avoid George Whitesides AIDs testing— Home testing isn’t 85% are less likely to test. an isolated event; “I don’t want people to see it’s an entry point. me standing in queues. I want it to be private there are 7,000 and secret.” AIDS counselors x5 x6 x4 x7 in the entirety of South Africa serving 48 million people. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 25
  26. Actionable INSIGHt INSIGHt INSIGHt Insight suggests Home testing isn’t design opportunities an isolated event; & solveable problems it’s an entry point. x5 x6 x4 x7 Indicative x5 x6 x4 x7 x5 x6 x4 x7 x5 x6 x4 x7 Data establishes & legitmatizes focus, gives context to design problems Dismissed Data saved for reference, may be utilized later Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 26
  27. be aware of assumptive patterns during this process—especially if your design solutions must live across cultures.
  28. “Myths are patterns which first arise in the mind… Once these patterns have formed something may be found in the environment which justifies them or else they dictate the way the environment is looked at and so achieves a pseudojustification.” —Edward de Bono Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 28
  29. 3 use the insights as a springboard to articulate design problems. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 29
  30. ? ? Problems live on different Organizational strategy orbits within an ? Product & service organization or strategy ? community. design strategy tactics ? ? ? ? ? your problem space Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 30
  31. Insight is the insight currency required for acceptance Opportunity of a design ? opportunity. design problems design ideas your problem space Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 31
  32. INSIGHt OPPORtUNIty Home testing isn’t Extend low-cost an isolated event; testing beyond the it’s an entry point. diagnosis without requiring face-to- face counseling. x5 x6 x4 x7 Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 32
  33. INSIGHt OPPORtUNIty IDEAtION QUEStIONS Home testing isn’t Extend low-cost How can support services—for either an isolated event; testing beyond the positive or negative diagnosis—be provided it’s an entry point. diagnosis without outside the health clinic? requiring face-to- How can we best provide testing materials face counseling. x5 x6 x4 x7 to people in their homes? How can these materials be produced in a cost-effective manner? How can materials be easily assembled in market, achieving economies of scale? These are questions that can be answered by design. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 33
  34. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Mobile support services are integrated solution: Drive the testing process via mobile phone. throughout the experience. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 34
  35. The package opens easily to reveal simple instructions that rely solution: make it simple to understand. on minimal literacy. All components of the packaging are used. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 35
  36. solution: make it easy to transport and in large The components can be distributed assemble. volumes to rapidly achieve economies of scale. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 36
  37. then: Test your design problems with a set of potential design solutions to ensure they will create desired change. Maximum Length Client Name Maximum Length Project Name 24 september 2007 © 2007 frog design. client confidential. 37
  38. “I think they would Title this kind of test. P so afraid to go to t “I think they would love this We would like to h kind of test. People are so afraid to go to the clinic. test instead.” We would like to have this test instead.” “It is“It is important, and this sy important, and this system can be because people ar be easy, easy, because people are afraid, but everyone everyone needs to know th needs to know their status.” “We are all looking “We are all looking forward to them! you need to hurry to them! You need up and get them out, so I don’t have to see my other friends die.” “you’re very late.get them o up and I’ve watched don’t have to see m so many of my friends die, because they are too scared to go to thedie.” friends clinic.” “You’re very late. I’ve watch of my friends die, because Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 38
  39. A f eW PA rT I n g T H o u g H Ts A b o u T P ro b l e m s : Well-stated design problems always suggest related problems. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 39
  40. MXShare Testing Assets: Concept Storyboard Xs H A r e P ro D u CT I n k e n yA : m ov I rT u / m Used by the frog research team to explain sysT e mto users b o r roW I n g P H o n es A the concept fo r W I T H P r e PA I D m I n u T es Ideally used by theMovirtu small business owner to explain the concept to customers. Problem: A similar testing solution may not be as effective 3 Movirtu Contextual Inquiry and Design Recommendations in a country with fewer mobile device users. © 2010 frog design. Confidential & proprietary. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 40
  41. Title Accept that there is never a perfect solution to any design problem. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 41
  42. Title understand that people are unsolvable problems. Work in Progress: Some Thoughts on Design Leadership David Sherwin © 2010 frog design April 14, 2010 42
  43. David Sherwin email: david.sherwin@frogdesign.com web: http://frogdesign.com blog: http://changeorder.typepad.com twitter: @changeorder

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