Solving complex problems through design

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Contents:
1. What is a complex problem?
Well-structured, ill-structured and wicked problems.
2. Solving techniques:
insight, process and creative strategic thinking.
3. Difficulties:
design literacy, design education and responsibility.
4. Conclusion

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Solving complex problems through design

  1. 1. Solving complex problems through designJulia Moisand Egéa15 OCT 2010
  2. 2. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 2Contents1. What is a complex problem? Well-structured, ill-structured and wicked problems.2. Solving techniques: insight, process and creative strategic thinking.3. Difficulties: design literacy, design education and responsibility.4. Conclusion
  3. 3. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 3Well-structured problems (H.Simon)1. Different steps to solve the problems are identifiable. 2. Any potential solution is testable.3. The problem solver is aware of the «legal moves», 4. The knowledge to solve the problem is accessible meaning rules, constraints, codes and laws. (example: bake a cake by following a recipe). (example: rules chess)5. Any action towards solution is visible and applicable 6. The solution is relatively easy to operate. in our world.
  4. 4. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 4Ill-structured problems (H.Simon)1. ISP are elusive, infinite. ISP have no stopping rules. 2. ISP are not understandable, «the information is confusing» The problem is never definitive, neither the solution. and there is a need of an orientation to look for relevant information. no definitive problem no definitive solution3. There are many clients and decision makers 4. Each formulation is a potential solution and it is a matter of creativity and good judgement to see potential solutions and to determine which are valid.
  5. 5. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 55. The consequences of a solution are hardly 6. ISP are subjective and unique. predictible. (Example: improve public transportation services in Paris and in Austin) problem: no more oil resources we need oil for cars in Paris: in Austin: DISPATCH people INVITE people and make room to take public because it is too transportation solution: let’s dig deeper in the ocean crowded. and to leave their car. «indeterminacy» (Buchanan) explosions and oil leak might happen
  6. 6. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 6Wicked problems (R.Buchanan)1. Wicked problems are ill formulated and social in nature. Water access Gender parity Violence and crime in schools Homelessness2. Solutions are good, good enough, bad, or worse. 3. The wicked problem solver is responsible. They are not true or false because solutions are Every solution is expensive and has assessed in a social context in which many parties consequences which can create new wicked are equally equipped, interested, concerned and problems. entitled to judge them. ARCH partners Homeless without family Example: HIV prevention by selling cheap condoms. A NGO distributed in South Africa cheap condoms to teenagers. ARCH People started to use them as shoe polish because it was less expensive than the polish itself. Homelessness The solution of condoms ditrisbution did not help to prevent HIV solution 1 and created another problem to solve. access to email AC4D Homeless with family
  7. 7. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 7Complex problems (Julia)1. Well structured problems (WSP) can be solved either by a person or by a computer. It requires using algorithmic logic, following steps that are very identifiable: bake a cake with a receipe, build a standard home with instructions, resize images by using a script in Photoshop.2. Only people can solve ill structured problems (ISP) because it requires both logic and emotion. Most of our problems in life are ill structured: buy a used car, build a unique home from scratch, find a job, play golf.3. All design problems are ill structured problems and it’s the role of the designer to transform them in WSP. If they already have clear structure, then, it is not a design problem.4. Design problems are wicked when they have a social impact: there is always a risk that solutions may have consequences that turn out to be worse than the problem itself.
  8. 8. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 8Solving complex problems by followinga process (H.Simon)A. Initial stage: laying down general specifications and defragmenting the problem square footage general style type of materialsA1. Problem: A2. identify general goal and «legal moves» in order to come up building a house from scratch with general specifications.
  9. 9. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 9A. Initial stage: laying down general specifications and defragmenting the problem electrical utilities floor plan heating systemA3. Aquire structure by decomposition in various A4. Make sure to coordinate numerous criteria sub problems. All the sub problems become well structured even if the overall is still ill structured.
  10. 10. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 10B. Expert stage: come up with new criteria that satisfy the experts electrical expert floor plan expert heating system expert utilities expert Experts bring and define new criteria to each sub problem.
  11. 11. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 11 Solving complex problems by developing creative strategic thinking ( P.Johnson- Laird)A. Leveraging creativity by developing strategies and acquiring tactics 3 strategies to approach problems: neo-darwinian: neo-lamarckian: Generate Evaluate Random Constraints act as filter multistage: Generate Select Constraints govern the process Constraints govern the process
  12. 12. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 12B. Acquire creative skills to get better insightsa. Develop visual perception that can lead to actions b. Define and relax the constraints only look at the new car market look at the new and used car marketsee: Gestalt theoryhttp://bit.ly/9HktcD
  13. 13. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 13 B. Acquire creative skills to get better insights c. Reframe d. Reformulate from a dentist point of view Manipulating terminology and languagereframe the toothbrush See Wired, writing new forms:object http://bit.ly/9HktcD or in the context of an airplane
  14. 14. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 14Solving techniques (Julia)A good problem solver must:1. formulate2. visualize3. reframe4. be comfortable with multi-facetted problems5. define, structure and relax the constraints6. know how to use personal experience7. acquire repertoire of tacticsThe abductive logic summarizes and combines these skills:I saw (understand, formulate, visualize)I know (tactics, constraints, multi-facetted)I’ve made (experience)= my best guess to solve this problemsee J.Kolko: http://www.jonkolko.com/writingAbductiveThinking.php
  15. 15. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 15Difficulties: design literacy (C.Pacione)A. We need ill structured problems solversThere are too many problems and not enough problem solversWired teaches online «new» liberal arts: New York times has an online education network.http://bit.ly/ayiMf2 Design should be added: http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/
  16. 16. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 16Difficulties: design education(R.Buchanan)A. Design (thinking) as a disciplineDefine the core methods of design Build legitimacy and define design as a core discipline
  17. 17. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 17A. Design (thinking) as a discipline define boundaries between masters and virtuoso Design literacy makes masters: Design Education makes virtuoso: The master practises scales The virtuoso practises scales, can play and can play an opera. and create an opera.
  18. 18. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 18Difficulties: responsibilityA. Design (thinking) as a responsibility impact design solution The wicked problem solver has a responsibility. He takes the risk of creating good or bad impact on a community.
  19. 19. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 19ConclusionJulia’s Manifesto about solving complex problemsWhat we have today:1. Most of the problems are ill formulated.2. There are more and more wicked problems.3. People are not educated to solve complex problems.What we should do:4. Establish design as a core discipline that has legitimacy (like doctor, lawyer, engineer).5. Teach Design thinking literacy to eveybody in order to: - understand and manipulate abductive logic; - develop creativity to get better insights.6. Change Design Education so designers become the «surgeons», as everybody else is a nurse with basic knowledge.
  20. 20. Describe the difficulties in solving complex problems. 20Julia’s Manifesto about solving complex problemsHow we should do it:7. Teach design (thinking) literacy to everybody: - online class (see: Wired and New York Times); - start as early as possible; - teach customers inside companies (see: Adaptive Path workshops).8. Change Design Education: - teach logic and emotion together; - teach core strong methods and tactics to students; - teach responsibility.Design is both logic and emotion and it is a combination of rigor and intuition. That’s why it is so powerful.We must teach students core methods that push towards science and core cognitive skills that push towardspsychology.

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