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Abductive Thinking and Sensemaking: The Drivers of Design Synthesis Overview: Making Sense of Chaos Designers, as well as those who research and describe the process of design, continually describe design as a way of organizing complexity or finding clarity in chaos.
Jeff Veen, founder of Adaptive Path, has noted that "Good designers can create normalcy out of chaos. New Riders Press, Accessed November 3, Jim Wicks, Vice President and Director of Motorola's Consumer Experience Design group explains that "design is always about synthesis—synthesis of market needs, technology trends, and business needs.
Yet despite the acknowledged importance of this phase of the design process, there continues to appear something magical about synthesis when encountered in professional practice: While other aspects of the design process are visible to non-designers such as drawing, which can be observed and generally grasped even by a naive and detached audiencesynthesis is often a more insular activity, one that is less obviously understood, or even completely hidden from view.
Designers may follow a user-centered discovery process to immerse themselves in a particular subject or discipline, and then go "incubate" that material. After a period of reflection, they will produce a tangible artifact as a visual representation of the reflection. When synthesis is conducted as a private exercise, there is no visible connection between the input and the output; often, even the designers themselves are unable to articulate exactly why their design insights are valuable.
Clients are left to trust the designer, and more often than not, the clients simply reject the insight as being "blue sky" or simply too risky. For example, a designer developing a new digital device might study the use of digital devices used in the workplace.
Typically, a designer will observe four or five users as those individuals conduct their work.
The designer will ask questions of each user about their jobs and record details of their responses. The designer might also take screen shots or photographs of the tools being used, and probe for details about each item. The designer will then return to the design studio.
In the privacy of his or her natural work place, the designer will attempt to make sense of what he or she has learned. The goal is to find relationships or themes in the research data, and to uncover hidden meaning in the behavior that is observed and that is applicable to the design task at hand.
The user research sessions will produce pages of verbal transcript, hundreds of pictures, and dozens of artifact examples. Because of the complexity of comprehending so much data at once, the designer will frequently turn to a large sheet of paper and a blank wall in order to "map it all out.
The designer will have identified themes, and will better understand the problem he or she is trying to solve; the designer will have discovered "the whole," as described by Daniel Fallman: For the latter, there is only design.
A Lack of Formality To an observer commonly a clientthe physical output, themes, and design ideas produced seem arbitrary, or magically derived. The artifacts developed by the designer are messy, usually drawn in the midst of deep and reflective thinking; they are sketches drawn in Sharpie, incomplete sentences, and crude diagrams lacking adequate captions or descriptions.
If the beginning state the research data is compared to the end state the design ideait is not immediately clear how one derived the latter from the former.
It can be argued that the more innovative the output, the more difficult it is to identify how the idea was developed at all. Yet the incubation period described above can be well structured, and things that occur during that period are both repeatable and comprehendible. It is only the lack of understandable documentation, or the decision to not share that documentation, that creates the sense of magic.
And the magic may well be desirable by some clients, as it hints that their money has been well spent. After all, they feel that they've hired magicians!
But the notion that design synthesis is magical and difficult to formalize has led to a number of very large problems that plague the industries of designed artifacts: Clients don't see the relationship between design research and design ideas, and therefore discount the value of design research and design synthesis entirely.
Because synthesis is frequently relegated to an informal step in the overall process, it is practiced implicitly; a single designer forges connections in the privacy of her own thoughts, and performs only rudimentary sensemaking.
The design output and solutions can be unique, novel, and even exciting, but because there is no artifact-based procedural trail, the client isn't aware of the various internal deliberations that have occurred.
After encountering several design projects that include implicit design synthesis, a client may proclaim that they don't see the value in a discovery phase for future design activities.It’s essential to provide strategic guidance to the innovation process, so in this chapter we take a look at six essential forces that are driving the changes that are occurring across much of today’s world.
For more than six years I was working on my master's thesis about resistance to organizational change. In the last five years, I have spent large of my time in research of organizational changes, especially drivers of organizational change, sources or forces that will .
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Developing a successful innovation program requires that your organization understand and master all of. these six forces may not be the only key drivers that your organization must contend with, but they are sure to be among them.
The Driving Forces of Change | Airport Innovators. This report reviews published research (to December ) on behavior models that have been used to attempt to explain road user behavior, and it summarizes the results of efforts to change that behavior using four broad classes of tools--Legislation, Enforcement, Reinforcement, and Education.
Knowledge Economy Gateway. This page provides a guide to the best sites on knowledge economy and knowledge management. ENTERWeb is an annotated meta-index and information clearinghouse on enterprise development.