Behind the Story with Kim

 The Project & The Student

Today, I am thrilled to share a little story with you. Spoiler, the plot is simple, the problem is cheesy, and the solution is even less enticing. None the less I am still THRILLED to share this clumsy anecdote with you because of how the progress it represents in my brief journey as an AC4D student. IDSE102 Design, Society and the Public Sector, has hands down been my most challenging class.

In retrospect, the challenge was not what I imagined it to be, that is the volume of the reading itself. As someone who struggles with language and reading, I have always had a visceral reaction to reading, and hard to manage anxieties around it despite my love for learning the content. As it turns out, the biggest struggle with this course was the required pace and depth of comprehension, and how quickly I was asked to formalize an opinion on the new ideas, and synthesize the multiple ideas authors I’ve read about PLUS my personal opinion into a brief and concise narrative that can be explained in SIX minutes. SIX MINUTES! Most ideas in conversations about a single topic between friends will take longer than six minutes to convey. In keeping with the attitude of learning by failing hard and fast, the moment I felt a degree of competency around what was asked, the ask changes.

That said, I came into AC4D a terrible artist, imagine the illustrative equivalent of your singing in the shower when no one is around. I had no idea how and what tools to use to illustrate digitally. I couldn’t tell you a complete story without the listener getting bored or irritated from my ramblings. Moreover, I absolutely hated presenting and talking at people.

Analyzing isn’t easy, comprehensions are harder. Developing an opinion, synthesizing ideas into a compelling, cohesive and concise manner is a tremendous skill and task.  This story is the product of the coming together of the learned skill, my attempt at practicing the problem-solving skills while trying to synthsize a a cohessive concise idea. This quarter and course have proved rewardingly challenging. My sincerest appreciation to Scott Gerlach for crafting this experience and the challenges it came with.

In the story I’d like to share here with you,  I attempt to bring together in a hopefully clear, and concise manner the viewpoints of seven authors I have read from in the last two weeks, with my opinion laced into the direction, outcome of this little story.

The Opinions

In short, design as a verb has been around since the beginning of time when man first started creating. Yes, caveman tools count. Through the different ways and different things man has tried to create, the definition, process, and application of ‘design’ have been ever changing. The conversations have recently grown more intense around the meaning of what design is as a result of the intent that people have when designing. There is a bit of a race to the definition among the players in the design community through the act of doing, showing, telling and teaching. The seven authors I have read from all take a firm stance on what it means to be a designer, how to solve problems, and who should be designers.

Recognizing up front that my ideas and opinions on the topic need more time to develop its flavors properly, I’d still like to share the pieces that I’ve learned with you.

Design as a concept and process is a handy tool for problem-solving. Problem-solving is always great as long as the intent it is done with if for improvement of the society or group as a whole and not just for a single person. While everyone should have access to, and possess the skills of problem-solving, we should all be aware that there is no definitive right or wrong solution, and no permanent solution for that matter. Problems arise from human interaction, with each other, with the environment, with animals, with ideas. Problems are quite literally a human construct. As humans are ever changing, ever evolving, so are our ideas, needs, and problems. Thus, problem-solving is not a skill to fix, but rather a skill for maintaining balance in the world we interact with.

In this short story where Scooby-Doo fakes his own dog-napping for some desperately wanted Scooby snacks. I have positions each author as a character in the story where they are detectives who are trying to solve the case, aka the problem, that Scooby has fabricated for his appetite and desires. The take away is that in isolation, not one perspective is ‘right,’ though looking at every individual element and gaining an intimate understanding each clue and element to the problem is essential to get to a place where you can find a solution. It is only after taking a step back and synthesizing the elements of the problem with some degree or your personal experience and intuition that you can begin to find a viable solution.

The Story

Kim IDSE102 A4, Slides 1

Kim IDSE102 A4, Slides 2

Kim IDSE102 A4, Slides 3

Kim IDSE102 A4, Slides 4

Kim IDSE102 A4, Slides 5

Kim IDSE102 A4, Slides 6

List of Readings and The Authors.

  • The Structure of Ill-structured Problems by  Herb A. Simon
  • Evolution of the Mind: A Case for Design Literacy by  Chris Pacione
  • Discovering Design Ability by Nigel Cross
  • Serious Creativity by Edward DeBono
  • Design Thinking for Social Innovation by Tim Brown, Jocelyn Wyatt
  • Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning by Horst Rittel, Melvin Webber
  • Wicked Problems in Design Thinking by Richard Buchanan