Discovering new methodologies lead to novel standards for judgment; pushing us to greater definitions of creativity.

Problem Solving Diagram Presentation – Design, Society and the Public Sector

By Bhavini Patel

Our final discussions in Design, Society and the Public Sector at AC4D, had to do with Problem Solving and the Nature of Problems.

So for our theory presentation, I’ve placed the authors on a position diagram to support the idea of discovering new methods to  push the definition of creativity.


Firestarter #1 – Austin Kung Fu Academy

Austin Kung Fu Academy Debrief


Scott, Jacob and I found a way to reframe our final studio assignment by applying the design methodologies we are learning at Austin Center for Design in combination with our individual professional competencies through Firestarting.

On September 5, 2013, we headed over to Austin Kung Fu Academy to shoot photographs, conduct interviews, design and build a website. Some photos and agenda outlined below:

9:00AM – 12:00PM Student Photography Shoot and Testimonial Interviews

12:00PM – 1:00PM Contextual Interview with Client

1:00PM – 3:00PM Design Synthesis

3:00PM – 2AM Design and Build AKFA Website

Some of our broad takeaways from our first Firestarter include:

  • Powerful context is possible even in a condensed format with the right kind of interaction.
  • Transparency in communication of intent, roles and expectations between clients and design team minimizes the risk of unexpected surprises.
  • An understanding of what short-term impact would look like from our client’s perspective.

In retrospect, we gained experience and can now use our new knowledge to inform and restructure our framework for Firestarting.

Information Technology Can Promote or Impede Growth

In our IDSE102 Design, Society and the Public Sector class we read about technology and society.  I’ve attached a position diagram to this post and summarized the framework of each authors position below.
Paul Dourish provides a framework for talking about technology and privacy.  He thinks, to understand the impact of technology, we need to be able to see how tensions operate, separately and together.  Therefore, privacy management is more of a dynamic response to situations than a rigid enforced regulation.
John Dewey provides a framework by connecting education and personal experience.  “We always live at the time we live and not at some other time, and only by extracting at each present time the full meaning of each present experience are we prepared for doing the same thing in the future.”  Meaning we should pay careful attention to the conditions in which we give each present experience, because ultimately this is where meaningful growth occurs.
Neal Postman talks about a time when information was a resource that helped human begins solve specific and urgent problems of their environment.  But in the age of information this began to change with, what he refers to as “information explosion”. Where we are now in information glut, drowning in information with no control over it and not knowing what to do with it. Information technology is “misleading and chaotic”, and we now have no cohort concept of ourselves and our relation to on another and our world because of it.  To invest into machines, does nothing but increase the supply or more information.  Thus distracting us from facing what we need to confront, which are things such as spiritual emptiness and knowledge of ourselves, for a more meaningful and humane life.
Joceyln Wyatt talks about flaws and missed opportunities in the overall design of systems that design thinking could address in “Design Thinking for Social Innovation”.  “One of the biggest impediments to adopting design thinking is simply fear of failure.”  It’s ok to experiment or “fail” as long as they happen early and act as a source of learning and growth.
In “A Rising Tide: Africa’s Tech Entrepreneurs – WhiteAfrican”, Erik Hersman is empathetic to what consumers use and how they use technological products for their needs. “We consistently underestimate the viability of consumer markets in Africa because we do not truly understand the customer there”.  So instead of overlooking a market, there is plenty of opportunity if we were more understanding and aware of the consumers.
Emily Nussbaum talks about privacy and the privilege lies in protecting it socially and structurally.  “Information is not private because no one knows it; it is private because the knowing is limited and controlled. In most scenarios, the limitations are often more social than structural. Secrets are considered the most private of social information because keeping knowledge private is far more difficult than spreading it. There is an immense gray area between secrets and information intended to be broadcast as publicly as possible.”

In Facebook’s Privacy Trainwreck, danah boyd talks about how technology that make social information more accessible, ruptures peoples sense of public and private through exposure and invasion.  Therefore, with social information overload; people can feel invaded by data.

In Selling to the Poor, Prahalad states, “when the Indian industrial and technology conglomerate ITC started building a network of Internet-connected computers called “e-Choupals” in farming villages in India‘s rural state of Madhya Pradesh in 2001, soy farmers were suddenly able to check fair market prices for their crops. Some farmers began tracking soy futures on the Chicago Board of Trade, and soon most of them were bypassing local auction markets and selling their crops directly to ITC for about $6 more per ton than they previously received.”  Therefore, with technology there is viable opportunity for growth, especially in developing countries.

Design Research: 8 Approaches and Thinking

Assignment 2 for Design, Society and the Public Sector at AC4D / 8 author positions in the context of designing for or with
Author summaries listed below:
Emily Pilloton list requirements for lasting involvement as proximity, empathetic investment and a focused involvement that has multiple scales.  To design effective solutions for people you must co-create systems for but also owned by them. To “invest” when designing within communities, we must experience and identify with the community and become part of it, in order to produce sustainable impact.
Victor Margolin talks about design research as a bridge to the market world and the cultural world.
Jane Fulton Suri “emphasizes deeper, more meaningful, and more enduring value comes from not the observations themselves, it comes from the quality of interpretation and synthesis applied to the observations, the freshness of insights surfaced and the effectiveness in influencing how companies respond.”
Chris Le Dantec, talks about broadening the scope of participatory design through technology, when appropriate, as a medium but also acknowledges the deep challenges in reaching participant communities. “By outlining the framework or boundary of the participants, he introduces the idea of “a public”, which highlights the social conditions of individuals as a collective group, for reflection and action.”
Don Norman controversially concludes, “Design research is great when it comes to improving existing product categories, but essentially useless when it comes to breakthroughs.”  It’s easy to disagree with him, just by saying true innovation rarely comes from a single person.  Design research along with many other process can aid in true innovation.
Jodi Forlizzi, describes Product Ecology as the framework to understand social product use and the social behaviors that are provoked to choose methodologies associated with these products allowing for more flexible research planning and opportunity seeking.
Bill Gaver describes a method for capturing, unique, qualitative and highly personal material by using “Cultural Probes”.