Design Thinking’s Convergence Diversion

Peter Jones Design for Care, Design for Practice, Transformation Design

(Updated from 2010) We now tend to think of design thinking as embracing all that represents “new design.”  Yet there remains more value in some of the original views of design thinking from decades ago than in most of what’s presented today. Design thinking is often treated as a process for moving an idea from ideation through prototyping to a concept test or an early alpha design. Or we mean it to represent the creative process associated with the structural mechanics of a generic design process – identify user needs by empathy and observation, iterate a promising prototype, add visual design and some marketing and voila. Let’s go back 30 years. The 4 orders of abstraction Buchanan (1992) describes in Wicked Problems in Design Thinking are usually left untapped in design thinking discussions. Buchanan lists: Symbolic and visual communications Material objects Activities and organized services Complex systems or environments for living, working, playing and learning Another 4-phase description of design thinking is GK van Patter’s Design 1.0 – 4.0 as described in numerous NextD articles and presentations. The four phases …

Co-designing for power balance in social systems

Peter Jones Design for Practice, Dialogic Design, Social Systems Design, Transformation Design

Power remains a hugely unresolved issue in strategic design, “systems change,” OD, and progressive management. Healthcare, like other public and social sector institutions (education, social welfare, government) is organized by what Jane Jacobs in Systems of Survival calls Guardian systems, the moral syndrome of ruling.  As in government, the values of authority, prowess, rank, restraints on trading, and “deceit for the task” are important in these sectors, though we don’t like to admit it. Even democratic governments are not democratic in values or style, they inherit the mantle of the warrior class, which makes a living by “taking”. In some ways, business – even corporate America – is fairer and more open. In Jacobs’ model, business (or merchant systems) tends to care about collaboration, honesty, results and of course customers – this leads to power toward winning joint ends and achievement, rather than winning process (or means) struggles. Power manifests in many ways – so in design processes, we adapt and deal with power issues in different ways, according to different environments.  Design practices tend to deal with power differentials …

Is Online Civil Participation Sufficient to the Institutional Crisis?

Peter Jones Civil media, Social Innovation, Transformation Design

My last post left off with “We have experience and world-class methods that reliably achieve consensus in social systems to organize stakeholder commitment. The next missing step then is the courage and ambition to reach through the benign neglect, the cynical stalling, the aligned interests in current economies, and to help stakeholders move forward on a chosen strategic path that best reaches our societal, human, and developmental visions.” Financier, socialist former punker, and Bond-style playboy Matthieu Pigasse comes forward with as much in his new book, Révolutions.  He relates a European view of the need for democratic action to re-envision institutions, if not civilization. We are living through a turning point, in great confusion. Nothing of what seemed obvious yesterday is evident today. Nor are there any signs to tell us what future certainties will be. The great points of reference — the Nation, the State, Morality — seem to have disappeared. The great hopes of tomorrow remain invisible. He shares with the Occupy movement the urgency of engaging citizens in the public sphere to re-envision his culture and nation …

Future Shock 3.0

Peter Jones Strategic Foresight, Strategic Innovation, Transformation Design

(Or is it just in the spirit of Global Future Day, March 1st? Not the best day to have chosen IMO.) Future Shock 1.0 foresaw the 1970’s oil and geo-political shocks, and let’s say 2.0 was pre-millennial fear. Future Shock 3.0 rains down upon our culture – as hopeful optimism. Over-optimism is what they call a “top signal” in long-wave investing (such as the Home Sweet Home Time cover at the top of the housing bubble).  I’m not saying optimism is misplaced, its actually a positive social force. But in today’s scenarios triumphal techno-optimism is the white steed that saves us from ourselves. That has never worked out well. In just the last week we have seen the launch and promotion of several new future scenario presentations for the purposes of inspiring imaginative alternatives for socially relevant innovation. Today’s future scenarios are often collaboratively generated, generally reflecting positive visions of possibility and emotional hope. From a socionomic perspective, the arrival of these several planned “positive future” deliberations all at once instead indicates that there’s a strong “Fear of the Future” …