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Design and complexity

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Design and complexity

  1. Design within complex systems Why it’s important to recognise the right kind of problem
  2. Using technology successfully in a social context is more a social than a technological challenge. [I]t is a question of finding the problem and consequently of positing it, even more than of solving it. For a speculative problem is solved as soon as it is properly stated. Gilles Deleuze, Bergsonism, 15
  3. Three types of problems H.W.J. Rittel, M.M. Webber, Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning.
  4. Simple problem Once the problem is clearly stated, both the solution and the path to the solution become clear
  5. Complicated problem Although the problem can be stated, and the solution is clear, the path towards that solution can be long and complicated
  6. Complex problem Since the problem cannot be clearly stated, the solution and the path towards that solution remain unclear Farrow Partnership Architects – Biology of Business: Complex Adaptive Systems.
  7. Complex problems • Cannot be solved. • Have solutions that are always “work in progress”. • Are better understood in the process of solving them. • Are affected by your activities in the world. H. Brignull, No rest for the wicked: a UX designer’s job is never done
  8. Three strategies to deal with complex problems
  9. Authoritarian If the problem is defined by one person, and others cannot challenge this, creating a solution that meets the brief becomes possible. N. Roberts ,Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution, 4
  10. Authoritarian + Quicker problem definitions when fewer people involved. - Authorities can be wrong about the problem and the solution. - Experts tend to search for solutions within their narrow expertise. - No-one but the experts learns from their attempts. N. Roberts, Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution, 4,5
  11. Collaborative By joining forces parties can accomplish more as a collective than [on their own]. At the core of collaboration is a ‘win-win’ view of problem solving. [...] [T]hey assume a ‘variable sum game’ that seeks to ‘enlarge the pie’ for all parties involved. N. Roberts ,Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution, 7
  12. Collaborative + Each stakeholder holds some truth in dealing with complex problems. + Because the problem is defined by more people, the solution is more likely to be beneficial. - Adding stakeholders to [...] problem solving [...] increases ‘transaction costs.’ - Collaboration requires practice; it is a learned skill. N. Roberts, Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution
  13. Competitive Central to the pursuit of competitive strategies [...] is the search for power. To the extent a competitor can build a power base larger than his opponents, [...], he can increase his chances to win and define the problem and solutions in a way he sees fit. N. Roberts ,Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution, 5
  14. Competitive + Problems can be solved by ‘winning’ and moving to authoritarian strategies. + Without a clear path, it is preferable not to go forward in any one direction. + They challenge the institutionalisation of power. - Because many solutions are tried at once, it’s very resource-intensive. N. Roberts, Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution, 4,5
  15. Which strategy to use?
  16. It depends Complexity Authoritarian Collaborative Competitive
  17. Key point Designers always deal with complex problems, failing to recognise (and communicate) this will lead to failed projects, disappointed clients and frustrated designers
  18. Sources Book G. Deleuze, Bergsonism Articles: H.W.J. Rittel, M.M. Webber, Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning. N. Roberts, Wicked problems and network approaches to resolution. Site Farrow Partnership Architects – Biology of Business: Complex Adaptive Systems. http://www.slideshare.net/FarrowPartnership/biology-of-business H. Brignull, No rest for the wicked: a UX designer’s job is never done. http://www.90percentofeverything.com/2009/01/19/no-rest-for-the-wicked-a-ux-designers-job-is-never-done/ Photos: Slide 2: http://ce399resist.wordpress.com/2011/04/13/society-of-control-by-gilles-deleuze-lautre-journal-1990/ Slide 8: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tambako/584155228/ Slide 9: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dunechaser/104968146 Slide 11: http://www.flickr.com/photos/irievibrations/3675852330 Slide 13: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Abraham_Diepraam_-_peasants_brawling.jpg Slide 15: http://flickr.com/photos/tambako/2524829095
  19. Thanks, Sjors @sjors notura.com

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