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TRENDSPOTTING 
MODELS OF MAN 
(IN DESIGN THINKING) 
OVERVIEW: 
This article on Design Thinking focuses on the humanistic p...
And in the “Reflective Practice” period, the proposed model of man, is a descriptor 
for practitioners who practiced refle...
Previous paradigm shifts: 
Homo Economicus model definition in 1935 by Lionel Robbins (Sickert, 2009) 
resulted in the ado...
Notable researchers such as Loewenstein, Kahneman, Ariely, Schwartz, Cialdini 
have contributed greatly to the advancement...
RECOMMENDATIONS: 
In view of the above analysis thus far; the relatively low success rate of Design 
Thinking – 4% success...
CONCLUSION: 
In summation, this article looked at an overview of Design Thinking, as a movement, 
how it evolved and where...
BIBLIOGRAPHY: 
Ariely, 2010. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden 
Forces That Shape Our Decis...
Kimbell, 2011. Rethinking Design Thinking: Part 1. Design and Culture, Vol. 3, No. 3, 
pp 285 – 306. 
Loewenstein & Schkad...
REFLECTIONS: 
On reflection, this exercise has been a really humbling experience. 
I have now experienced first hand, the ...
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Trendspotting – Models of Man (In Design Thinking)

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Trendspotting – Models of Man (In Design Thinking)

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Trendspotting – Models of Man (In Design Thinking)

  1. 1. TRENDSPOTTING MODELS OF MAN (IN DESIGN THINKING) OVERVIEW: This article on Design Thinking focuses on the humanistic part of the equation and the evolutionary trend in methods used. It is partly built on the work of Bousbaci (2008), “Models of Man” in Design Thinking: The “Bounded Rationality” Episode. The “Generation Game” of Design Thinking methods (Bousbaci, 2008): • Pre-Generation Game: Before late 1950s, the design process had been referred largely as an intuitive and artistic form and the designers of that era (A.K.A “Models of Man”) are known as the “intuitive and artistic” designer. • First Generation Method: Between late 1950s to 1967, model of man is known as the “rational and logical” designer. • Second and Third Generation Methods: Between 1967 to 1983, the “Second (participatory & argumentative) and Third (pattern language) generation design methods” took place in parallel. The model of man is known as the “bounded rationality” designer. • Post-Generation Game: From 1983 and beyond, Nigel Cross proposed a “post-industrial” design paradigm known as “reflective turn”. Echoed by Donald Schon in 1983’s “reflective practice” and the model of man being known as “reflective practitioner”. In this “rationality of reflection-in-action” period, the research is more comprehensive and had included issues such as poetical, rhetorical, phenomenological, hermeneutical and ethical. Notably, the abandonment of “problem-solving process” to a more pragmatic and phenomenological concept of “situation”. CRITIQUE: Bousbaci (2008) argued that Design Thinking, as a movement, is based around the philosophical idea of the models of man of: (A) philosophical assumptions of the designer or (B) users of design results It is a largely plausible idea that Design Thinking has been placing its focus of methods on the designer, and in the latest iteration—the user—as echoed by Kimbell (2012), based on evidences of the coincidental chronological order of the Design Thinking methods and a coherent model of man (Bousbaci, 2008). However, in his paper, he failed to consider opposing viewpoints and has a large element of confirmation bias in his line of reasoning. His main argument of the generation game in Design Thinking evolving around a corresponding model of man was predicated on the implicit assumption of causal link between the two.
  2. 2. And in the “Reflective Practice” period, the proposed model of man, is a descriptor for practitioners who practiced reflective processes, that in effect, is a tool / method employed by the designers but not explicitly, a proper model of man. In reality, most recent advocates of Design Thinking are still using “Problem-Solution” models as described by Vianna et al (2011), Brown & Wyatt (2010), and The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (Kaufman & Sternberg, 2010) in their trade, as opposed to the more pragmatic and phenomenological concept of “situation” as claimed by Bousbaci (2008). MAIN ARGUMENT: Based on the premise of knowing what is the causal link for the evolution of Design Thinking methods, this article argues that the future method trend is predictable (and a paradigm shift is long due). HYPOTHESIS: If the above argument is true, practitioners should be able to foretell a credible upcoming trend, act on it, and to enable them to be the change they want to see. A.K.A “Change Agents”. LINE OF REASONING REASON #1: Model of man as Design Thinking method evolution driver This article has established the credible evidences cited by Bousbaci (2008). The shortcoming, however, is the lack of opposing viewpoint(s), and some flaws of logic. Here, I attempt to investigate one of the major flaw of logic entailed in the critique section. The “Reflective Practitioner” model appears to be a misnomer. As it was coined after the practitioner who adopted the reflective method of design, as opposed to be the state of knowledge about man. However, leaving the name aside, in the same trend as the generations that predated this, a critically acclaimed formulation of “Prospect Theory” psychological knowledge state (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979)—which paved way for “Behavioural Economics” (Heukelom, 2006) as we know it today—was established just prior to the paradigm shift to “Reflective Practice” methods in 1983.
  3. 3. Previous paradigm shifts: Homo Economicus model definition in 1935 by Lionel Robbins (Sickert, 2009) resulted in the adoption of “Rational Designer” and the ensuing “First Generation” Design Thinking in the early 1950s led by the “Fourth Phase” Bauhaus movement. Administrative Behavior (Simon, 1947); A behavioral model of rational choice (Simon, 1955) resulted in the adoption of “Bounded Rationality Designer” and the ensuing “Second & Third Generation” Design Thinking in 1967. There is still a remote possibility of the above events happening in parallel, uncorrelated, and as a coincidence. But the rate of probability is extremely low. And hence, it is reasonably deductive that the “Reflective Practice” method was adopted at 1983, as an aid to help the designer-in-practice that is laden with the discovered heuristics and biases (Kahneman & Tversky, 1979), as a constant reality check, to help in self-awareness during the design process. With the lack of qualitative data at this juncture, I will cite my own career path as an example: Reflective thinking and practice has always been a big part of my work processes, as an art based creative, I tend to let emotion get the better of me. Reflecting on the work and processes allows me to learn from every saga and they act as lampposts in illuminating my career path. REASON #2: Current paradigm shift in the known state of man Bounded rationality is proving to be flawed with the rise of “Experimental Psychology”, and the shift of Psychology from the “Arts”, to the “Sciences”. Through the use of purposefully designed experiments, we now know that the “Bounded Rationality” theory by Simon (1947 & 1955) and its definition of “The behaviour of human beings who satisfice because they do not have the wits to maximise” is flawed. In The Paradox of Choice: Why Less is More (Schwartz, 2004), the author (specialising in “Choices”) found out through his research experiments, that all humans both Maximise and Satisfice, in different aspects of their lives. Not because they do not have the capability but due to a matter of personality, beliefs, values etc. And knowledge did not influence whether a person tend to “Maximise” or “Satisfice”, as claimed by Simon (1947). And in the landmark paper by Kahneman (2003), the “Dual-Process Theory” was refined and proposed. It is reasoned that the System 2 of cognition, is for deliberation and slow thoughts. Predominantly used if a person wants to “Maximise”. While the System 1, is the quicker and heuristics based system to make “Automated Decisions” on the fly. It is this System 1 cognition that is most prone to mistakes and irrationality. And whilst the System 2 do usually make a more informed decision, it is dependent on the knowledge state of the person and has also proven in numerous research experiments to be highly susceptible to irrationality too. Hence not being able to “Maximise” as they desired to. A large body of research work is being done by renown psychologists and neurologists all over the world in the recent few years on the topic of “Irrationality”.
  4. 4. Notable researchers such as Loewenstein, Kahneman, Ariely, Schwartz, Cialdini have contributed greatly to the advancement in this subject matter. Especially in Predictably Irrational (Ariely, 2008); Upside of Irrationality (Ariely, 2011); Influence (Cialdini, 2001); Yes! (Goldstein et al, 2008); numerous research experiments were done to prove how irrational humans are and how irrationality affects their preferences, choices, decisions, habits, levels of happiness etc. Even the researchers themselves, knowing full well in this subject matter, fall into the trap of irrationality too (Ariely, 2008). On the other hand, Behavioural Economics and the accompanying “Irrational” model, may simply be an academia hot air, with lots of hype propagated by advocates wanting academese currency. However, several real world examples such as the UK’s Behavioural Insights Team A.K.A “Nudge Unit” that sits in the Cabinet Office (Gov UK, 2013); Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore (Low, 2012); incorporation of Behavioural Economics into Advertising by agencies such as #OgilvyChange ; suggest otherwise. REASON #3: Outmoded “Reflective Practice” Design Thinking method push factor While thinking reflectively and prototyping are great tools to be self-aware and as a constant reality check against irrationality, the underlying “Problem-Solution” method of frame creation is falling out of favour. Numerous practitioners (as cited in the Critique section) including those in my personal experiences with the Advertising industry, are still trapped in the “Problem- Solution” dogma and have not evolved as claimed by Bousbaci (2008), to the pragmatic and phenomenological approach. An interesting phenomenon observed during my coaching sessions with my team members and clients, I find that they are finding it difficult to “see” briefs as the problem space and much less being capable of frame creation and reframing techniques. Evidences point to the over-reliance of the practitioner’s level of knowledge, expertise and experiences to accurately frame the problem state (Razzouk & Shute, 2012; Dorst, 2011) as a key driver to the failure of this Design Thinking method. In my personal work experiences, I find this method effective. It is highly probable that it is attributed to the years of expertise / experiences I have accrued. And I will not be able to say for sure if a newer method will work better, or not, at this juncture.
  5. 5. RECOMMENDATIONS: In view of the above analysis thus far; the relatively low success rate of Design Thinking – 4% success rate of new products in the United States (Vianna et al, 2013); Design thinking hinging on the humanistic part of the equation as detailed in the Global Innovation Index 2014, The Human Factor in Innovation (Dutta et al, 2014); I will borrow a thought-starter from Darke (1979). She suggested that the most interesting direction for design thinking to take now is to find further ways of “looking inside the designer’s head” of exploring subjectivity. By projecting Design Thinking’s evolution trajectory path based on the findings from this article, and with the most relevant and current model of man (that has been critically reviewed and acclaimed) at the time of writing, I propose, that Design Thinking to be shifted to the “Irrational Model of Man”. And with this “Irrational Model of Man”, the Design Thinking method can also change from the problem focused method, to a promise focused method (Rultenberg et al, 2012). In which, just akin to the old school of psychology being problem focused of rectifying the patients back to normal, the promise focused school of positive psychology has taken a new spin, and has proven to be able to improve the happiness index in humans (Seligman/TED, 2004). Rultenberg et al (2012) have demonstrated various case studies of products designed in a promise focused Design Thinking method, and to yield effective results amongst the users tested. Most, if not all, of the research work done thus far in Design Thinking had been through observations, qualitative, quantitative, focus group analysis etc. (Vianna et al, 2013) But in this “Irrational Model of Man”, we have established that focus group test subjects are not able to objectively and rationally, provide an accurate answer to their frame of mind, feelings, or projection of their feelings when using the test product / idea in the real world (Loewenstein & Schkade, 1997). Thus, it is also recommended to shift the research to an experiment-based method. Whereby subjects are put through experiments specially designed to test the various hypothesis and conditions. And in cases that are viable, use fMRI brain scans to help identify affected neuro regions and neuron-synaptic connections so as to better understand the real feelings of the “Irrational Man” (Ariely & Berns, 2010). Researchers, however, need to bear in mind the ethical issues surrounding experiment-based researches. It has been a highly debated issue in the academia world, especially concerning the use of placebo in medical conditions (Trull & Prinstein, 2012). This theoretical “Reflective Behavioural” method of Design Thinking, when used properly, should be able to effectively help in designing products that are truly human-centric, that can accurately predict real user experiences, and can improve the lives / happiness / behaviours of the users (Fogg, 2009; Wendel, 2014).
  6. 6. CONCLUSION: In summation, this article looked at an overview of Design Thinking, as a movement, how it evolved and where it is currently. Verified a hypothesis of Design Thinking methods evolving around the known state of models of man. Hence, giving an informed view of where this movement should be headed. By being able to chart out the trend of Design Thinking, opens up the possibility to act on this knowledge by cultivating the next crop of Change Agents. Reason being, it has been established fairly deductively that the models of man have been driving the design thinking methods; there is a paradigm shift in the known state of man; and last but not least, the outmoded reflective practice method being the push factor. Thus, it is in my recommendations to relook the current “inaffective” reflective practice method in the following ways: • Shift from a problem focused to a promise focused method • Shift to experiment based researches • Shift to behavioural-changing aims More researches should be done in this respect, to investigate and to build on this hypothesis. Most importantly, test this hypothesis in the real world and in the hope of the industry players adopting it. At the time of writing and after deliberate considerations, the proposed “Irrational Model of Man” and the accompanying “Reflective Behavioural” method, does look like a probable Design Thinking method / model to shift to. It can be beneficial to this entire industry if it works out. And with that in mind—hopefully—more Change Agents, to design a better world.
  7. 7. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ariely, 2010. Predictably Irrational, Revised and Expanded Edition: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions. 1 Exp Rev Edition. Harper Perennial. Ariely, 2010. The Upside of Irrationality (Enhanced Edition): The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home. Reprint Edition. HarperCollins e-books. Ariely & Berns, 2010. Neuromarketing: the hope and hype of neuroimaging in business. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, doi:10.1038/nrn2795, pp 1 – 9. Bousbaci, 2008. Models of Man” in Design Thinking: The “Bounded Rationality” Episode. Design Issues, Vol. 24, No. 4 (Autumn 2008), pp 38 – 52. Brown & Wyatt, 2010. Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Stanford Social Innovation Review, (Winter 2010), pp 30 – 35. Cialdini, 2006. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, Revised Edition. Revised Edition. Harper Business. Darke, 1979. The primary generator and the design process. Design Studies, Vol. 32, No. 6, pp 36 – 44. Dorst, 2011. The core of ‘design thinking’ and its application. Design Studies, Vol. 1, No. 1 (November 2011), pp 522 – 532. Dutta, Lanvin & Vincent, 2014. The Human Factor in Innovation. The Global Innovation Index 2014. [ONLINE]. Available at: http://www.globalinnovationindex.org/userfiles/file/reportpdf/GII-2014-v5.pdf [Accessed 23 October 2014]. Fogg, 2009. A Behavior Model for Persuasive Design. Persuasive ‘09, (April 26 - 29), pp 1 – 7. Goldstein, Martin & Cialdini, 2008. Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive. 1st Edition. Free Press. GOV UK, 2014. Behavioural Insights Team - GOV.UK. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/behavioural-insights-team. [Accessed 23 October 2014]. Heukelom, 2009. PHD THESIS SUMMARY: Kahneman and Tversky and the making of behavioral economics. Eramus Journal for Philosophy and Economics, Vol. 2, No. 1 (Summer 2009), pp 161 – 164. Kahneman, 2003. A Perspective on Judgment and Choice: Mapping Bounded Rationality. American Psychologist, Vol. 58, No. 9 (September 2003), pp 697 – 720. Kahneman & Tversky, 1979. Prospect Theory: An Analysis of Decision Under Risk. Econometricia Pre-1986, Vol. 47, No. 2 (March 1979), pp 263 – 291. Kaufman & Sternberg, 2010. The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity. Cambridge University Press.
  8. 8. Kimbell, 2011. Rethinking Design Thinking: Part 1. Design and Culture, Vol. 3, No. 3, pp 285 – 306. Loewenstein & Schkade, 1997. Wouldn’t It Be Nice? Predicting Future Feelings. (June 1997), pp 1 – 47. Low, 2012. Behavioural Economics and Policy Design: Examples from Singapore. 1st Edition. World Scientific Publishing Company. Razzouk & Shute, 2012. What Is Design Thinking and Why Is It Important. Review of Educational Research, Vol. 82, No. 3, pp 330 – 348. Ruitenberg, H.P & Desmet, P.M.A, 2012. Design Thinking in Positive Psychology. Proceedings DE2012, (September 2012), pp 1 – 10. Schwartz, 2014. The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less. MP3 Una Edition. Brilliance Audio. Sickert, 2009. Homo Economicus. Handbook of Economics & Ethics, Vol. 69, No. 1 (May 2009), pp 1 – 14. Simon, 1955. A Behavioral Model of Rational Choice. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Vol. 69, No. 1 (February 1955), pp 99 – 118. Simon, 1997. Administrative Behavior, 4th Edition. 4 Sub Edition. Free Press. Seligman, 2004. Martin Seligman: The new era of positive psychology | Talk Video | TED.com. [ONLINE] Available at: http://www.ted.com/talks/martin_seligman_on_the_state_of_psychology. [Accessed 23 October 2014]. Trull & Prinstein, 2012. Clinical Psychology. 8 Edition. Cengage Learning. Vianna, Y.Vianna, Adler, Lucena & Russo, 2011. Design Thinking Business Innovation. 1st Edition. MJV Press. Wendel, 2013. Designing for Behavior Change. 1st Edition. O’Reilly.
  9. 9. REFLECTIONS: On reflection, this exercise has been a really humbling experience. I have now experienced first hand, the difficulty of writing a good (let alone great) and solid paper. Most valuable experience I reckon, is building a sound, logical, critical, and considered argument based on the findings in the research process, that, does not tear itself apart. And as a learner, I realise there is a tendency to do the research work in a “Confirmational Biasy” manner. In fact, I noticed many authors of journals are exactly guilty as charged too. So, it comes as a consolation for me as I am a mere mortal (read: student). Thus a big part is to avoid falling into the Confirmation Bias rut. It is not easy, but certainly possible. Objective. Objective. Objective. I feel that the methods taught by Hyper Island are of great help in the whole process. Namely: • Reflection Thinking • Critical Thinking • Group Dynamics • Study Group • Academic Writing This exercise has, overally, challenged me to write THAT paper I have always been aspiring to. And I am really glad that I have been given the push factor to get it done. This is just the beginning and I really look forward to the big one, The Individual Research Project, as the Grand Finale. Thank you.

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