The two aspects of design thinking that I believe are the most important are:
(a) The Design Cycle
(b) Principles of Good Design.,
The Design Cycle.
Design activity uses four abstract elements in the design cycle. Exploration, Concepts, Proposal and Evaluation. These are further described by Donald Schon in his book “ The Reflective Practioner.” Basically Schon shows that the four elements are Naming, Framing, Moving and Reflecting. Whatever interpretation you use for the design cycle it is important that you recognise the different phases and use this information to give form to your progress.
Obviously by naming your project you are exploring the basis of the problem being addressed. This is a fundamental phase and sets the stage for the whole process. Framing the concept allows you to look at the problem or project as a component of its environment and how changes interact with that environment. Schon’s phase of moving or developing a proposal gets us working on the detail, sketching solutions, discussing issues with experts, perhaps constructing models. This really brings the theory of the previous two phases to life. Finally reflecting on and evaluating the resulting solution is paramount not only as a learning tool but as a measurement against the original criteria of the problem.
I like the mechanics of the design cycle as it allows us to map our project early on. However it is important to understand that there are recurring elements of this cycle throughout project. The design process must be more organic rather than set in stone. Principles of Good Design.
Dieter Rams Principles of Good design are easily recognised as having prime importance in design thinking by looking at how they have lasted since first laid down in the 1950’s. Dieter described good design as: unobtrusive, honest, makes a product useful, helps understand a product, innovative, aesthetic, long lasting, concerned with the