Thursday, May 07, 2009
MBA Design Leadership elective - session 2
After the 'think and make tank' collaborative workshop with designers the previous week, this session offered the MBAs a chance to consider and discuss what is distinctive about what designers do, how they do it, and the sorts of artefact they create along the way – what is sometimes called “design thinking” or “designerly ways of knowing”. Studying the research into designers’ work demystifies the creative design process and offer students insights about what to expect when products and services are designed by or with professional designers.
But the term “design thinking” has limitations – although people using it may claim to be user-centred, it nonetheless privileges the designer as the key agent in design, ignoring decades of work in anthropology and sociology. Introducing the terms “design-as-practice” and “designs-in-practice”, the elective offers students a way to understand that design is not just about what designers do (or how they think), but also about what stakeholders, users and artefacts themselves do in constituting design.
In this class we watched the well-known ABC TV segment in which the product design and innovation consultancy IDEO re-designs a shopping cart in just five days. A second viewing gave students a chance to analyze in detail the process the designers use to come up with their innovative re-design and identify when there was divergent and convergent thinking and use of methods such as ethnographically-inspired research, visualisation, brainstorming, and prototyping. Attending to the design or management of the process was identified as an important skill.