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Design Thinking

Do the design arts provide an essential underappreciated approach to thinking itself? Does the creating, building and doing inherent in design thinking evoke a special more incisive way of living, thinking and being in Universe? How does design thinking differ from our other thinking traditions such as critical, rational, deductive, inductive (scientific), intuitive, poetical, literary, spiritual, mystical, moral, economic, and political thinking? Or is design just a "glorified" form of problem-solving?

Has philosophy overlooked this dynamic approach to thinking and understanding? Ought we all enrich our lives by practicing design and design thinking more deliberately? Maybe we should first ask what is design and what is its role in society? What is the significance, if any, of design thinking?

Could our design capability be the purpose of humans in Universe as R. Buckminster Fuller speculated? Might it be that design is, in fact, the most human quality of our experience, of our being, and of our thinking? These and related questions will form the basis for this discussion to explore design thinking from many perspectives.

I recently took an exquisite, free, on-line class Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society (given by Karl T. Ulrich of the University of Pennsylvania) which got me thinking about Design in a deeper way. Ulrich's 8 week course will be offered again starting April 29th. I highly recommend it.

Resources:

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  • Mici

    Loved it. The time was filled with super questions and thoughtful discussion. Fascinating contributions from the attendees as well.

    1 · March 12, 2013

  • CJ F.

    The event at the University City Science Center "Exploring the Nexus of Technology and the Arts" which will discuss the STEM to STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, the arts, and Mathematics) initiative is available for sign-up at http://sciencecenter.cal.basecampbusiness.com/node/370848

    It will be Wednesday, March[masked]:30am - 1:30pm. I plan to attend since so much of my non-profit work is at the Nexus of Technology and the Arts.

    March 9, 2013

    • Amy

      Hi CJ - thanks for posting this. I plan to go and hope to see you there!

      1 · March 10, 2013

  • Louis S.

    CJ-

    Thanks for all your efforts in contributing to another great discussion.

    1 · March 10, 2013

  • Sidney

    Woke up with bad sinus headache

    March 9, 2013

  • CJ F.

    Here is a short 10 minute video about "Innovation Tournaments":
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEYi8e6dNHQ
    It features Kart Ulrich the UPenn professor who teaches Coursera's "Design: Creation of Artifacts in Society" which will be offered again starting April 29th (sign up here: https://www.coursera.org/course/design).

    March 8, 2013

  • CJ F.

    Iconic graphic design Saul Bass says in this short 1 minute video that all designers should learn how to draw: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S7l0mIlzx_I

    In Karl Ulrich's course on Design, I found the drawing exercises were rewarding. The grading was easy and straightforward. So even though I spent a lot of time on them, in the end it was not difficult (and I never draw or doodle!). I learned that I can draw (maybe not awesome, but passably)! An important skill!

    March 8, 2013

  • CJ F.

    This is an interesting 30 minute video of Buckminster Fuller talking about the Dynamics of Design and Geography. You need to create a free account to watch the video. The first part discusses geography. At the end he ties in his views of the dynamics of design.

    http://collections.stanford.edu/bucky/bin/mediaplayer?fileID=909966504X&n=1

    March 8, 2013

  • CJ F.

    Eddie Obeng, whose mentor Tim Brown I cited on Monday, gives an energetic presentation on the nature of "smart failure" in this TED Talk: http://www.ted.com/talks/eddie_obeng_smart_failure_for_a_fast_changing_world.html

    Obeng suggests that Design Thinking is essential in the modern world of exponential change. Obeng's "Smart Failure" seems to be a key element in Design Thinking because it seems everyone who talks about design talks about failure. Here are two corroborating quotes:

    I only learn what to do when I have failures. --- R. Buckminster Fuller

    Engineer and design historian and philosopher Henry Petroski writes: "Everyone makes mistakes, even geniuses like Galileo. Engineers must always be alert for what they may be oversimplifying and overlooking or to what conclusions they may be jumping. Because errors in engineering can have disastrous consequences, it is especially important for engineers to be reflective and alert in their design and analysis."

    March 6, 2013

    • CJ F.

      I am both impressed by the amount of good design out there and the ubiquity of "the bad" (or at least designs that leave me thinking "we can do better than this").

      The first assignment in Ulrich's course was to consider the artifacts (any product of intentional creation) you use regularly and briefly write about one that evokes for you an "I love this" reaction. Are there any artifacts that you love every time you use them? It is an interesting exercise.

      March 7, 2013

  • CJ F.

    Roger Martin gives his perspective on design thinking from a business-perspective in this short 4 minute video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTgVYjp98Zk

    I like Martin's idea of combining analytical and intuitive thinking.

    Although we should discuss the business angle of design, I want the meetup to take a broader perspective. Karl Ulrich's two minute introduction to his free on-line Design course gives the broad perspective I want to take on Saturday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yhmq-m3wo0

    I especially appreciated how Ulrich's course accommodated hobbyist designers. But I will even suggest that design is something every one of us does every day. That design is a part of each of us. We will discuss that unconventional idea while we explore the role of design in society and in our lives.

    I look forward to hearing your thoughts about design: in the conversation here and on Saturday.

    March 7, 2013

  • Jyoti M.

    Hi CJ, sorry I will not be able to make it this Saturday as something urgent has come up. Hope to see you soon!

    1 · March 4, 2013

  • CJ F.

    Tim Brown's TED Talk on "Design Thinking" starts with the big design success of iconic 19th-century engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He lays out 5 principles of design thinking: start with people, learning by making ("instead of thinking about what to build, building in order to think"), prototypes (they speed up the process of innovation), from consumption to participation ("the design of participatory systems in which many more forms of value beyond simply cash are both created and measured is going to be the major theme for not only design but also for our economy."), and design is too important to be left to designers.

    He concludes with three nice statements: "In times of change we need new alternatives, new ideas. ...Design thinking is a new way of tackling problems ...The first step is to start asking the right questions."

    What do you think of the talk? Is this what design thinking is about? How can we all participate more in the design process? Should we?

    March 4, 2013

  • Amy

    Sorry to miss this. I thought it was on Sunday. Unfortunately,I can't make Saturday discussions.

    March 3, 2013

    • CJ F.

      Amy we are experimenting with Saturday meetups. Sunday is still our main day and I will lead one on Sunday in April. Unfortunately Sunday the 10th is the big St. Patty Day parade and so I decided to do the meetup on Saturday instead of pushing it to a future Sunday. Sorry you will miss it.

      March 3, 2013

  • Albert F.

    tell me if I'm allowed to come, I've not jpined yet? albert

    March 3, 2013

    • CJ F.

      Albert, you are first on the waiting list. In general, the first few on the waiting list get promoted to attending at the last minute when people change their RSVP a day or two ahead. So, although I can't be 100% sure, I think it is likely that you will get an e-mail "promoting" you to attending.

      March 3, 2013

  • Jean S.

    Glad to see there is a second "Saturday" thinkers group. My business is open on Saturday so I have to stick with the Sunday thinkers... CJ always does a great job!

    March 1, 2013

    • CJ F.

      Jean, sorry, I'll miss you. Sunday is the St. Patrick's Day parade so Saturday was the only way to have a meetup next weekend. We are hoping we can find enough discussion leaders to do Sat & Sun meetups. For now, Saturday is an experiment to see what people think and how it affects attendance. I will be doing a Sunday meetup in April.

      March 1, 2013

  • Mici

    looking forward to it

    1 · February 24, 2013

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