Cooking Creatively: An Ill-Structured Problem

For our last theory assignment of the first quarter, we read seven articles by different designers. Herbert Simon, along with Rittel and Webber all discussed ways to define and address ill-structured or “wicked” problems. These are complex problems that are difficult to solve or even address because of they’re ever-changing, interwoven with other issues, and often incomplete in their definition. Design is a problem solving process that can often work to engage with some of these issues. Simon argues that we face ill-structured problems in our every day life.

I think cooking from scratch could be considered an ill-structured problem. Of course, heating up a microwave meal is not, but as imagined below there are times when creating a meal that could be considered ill-structured problems.

Throughout the below comic are several author’s views about ways to address these problems. Buchanan and Pacione both see that design can be used beyond the designer. Although Buchanan makes an argument for design being a liberal art and Pacione makes an argument for design literacy, both argue that design can be practiced by everyone. We just need stronger defined methodology to enact it at a larger level. Wyatt and Brown’s view of ideation, inspiration, and implementation as spaces instead of a linear path helps establish the idea that one can go back and forth between them multiple times to come to a solution. Cross, de Bono, and Simon all stress the importance of being able to use your intuition as a guiding tool.

I, as the chef, choose to externalize ideas to gain more information about the problem, think more intentionally about the various tracks of addressing a problem, and learn to trust my intuition as I build it up over time.

An Ill-Structured Problem in the Kitchen-01

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