Design as Process

L. prōcessus - a going forward

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Latest Activity: Dec 10, 2016

I have long blogged on giftedness in design and its relevance to design driven 'breakthrough' innovation. Anna Craft in 2001 wrote about Little 'c' creativity which has been expanded now via Kaufman taking Little 'c' and Big 'C' to include “mini-c,” creativity inherent in the learning process, and Pro-c, the developmental and effortful progression beyond little-c that represents professional-level expertise in any creative area, as Kaufman puts it.

This has strong parallels with talk of 'talentism' in innovation circles, of seeking the best practitioners for collaboration.

Design and Design education has as its base pedagogy a progression from Mini c to Pro c over the course of an under graduate degree. When attached to years of practice in design based practice the process becomes intuitive.

As a designer, the distraction of educating and promoting the practice of Service Design or Design in general while helpful to the client in achieving their KPI's in innovation and creativity, has lended to a DIY culture rather than collaboration or co creation.

It is the interaction with clients with Little c skills and professional practitioners with Pro c skills that breakthroughs are achieved and as Verganti puts it, real meaning is achieved.

Discussion Forum

Design as Process

Started by Mark Watson. Last reply by Heico Wesselius Mar 9, 2015. 6 Replies

Design as a process.  The Design process is the process that links creativity and innovation. It shapes ideas to become practical and attractive propositions for users or customers. Design may be…Continue

Systems Design as Process

Started by Mark Watson. Last reply by Nat Maras Jun 14, 2012. 8 Replies

I have lifted (sampled) this from the Design Accord Link I posted. In the section titled How can we turn abstract  ideas into concrete actions?Big-picture thinkingSystems design can avoid a slippery…Continue

Tags: Process, Design, Systems


Started by Brian Ling. Last reply by Mark Watson Jun 11, 2012. 1 Reply

Hi everyone, Just thought you might be interested in a dormant project I was working on sometime ago to collect graphics of design processes into one place to help designers and design…Continue

. . . and now for something completely different . . . .

Started by Geoff Day. Last reply by Geoff Day Jan 14, 2011. 6 Replies

A dangerous area ahead - just an idea I have been working on for a while. Stepping back re. problem solving/opportunity development processes - I believe they are the same - an opportunity is simply…Continue

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Comment by Guido Stompff on January 2, 2011 at 23:56
Hi Geoff. I'm very familiar with the work of Verganti. I invited him as a co chair in the DMI Europe conference. Very interesting theme, especially for me as PhD student. I work on the contribution of designers or design thinkers in multidisciplinary teams, and he paved teh way more or less. Despite the fact he actually frames designers as separete from teams, whereas I frame desigenrs as part of teams. Teams do think differently with designers, is what I found.
Comment by Mark Watson on January 2, 2011 at 13:23



You might be interested in work by Verganti in 'Design Driven Innovation' as a metric to overly against the Byrd 'Creatrix' where he works through the barrier set by incremental innovation into breakthrough innovation which he suggests is through design and that industry is seeking out those at the cutting edge rather than those who only have a handle to work with.




Design has been labelled as 'messy' by some, and 'wicked' by others I see the question you pose and see this forum as a good place to workshop it. Let's open up the dialogue.




Mark W



Comment by Mark Watson on December 27, 2010 at 13:18

Geoff & Guido



Arne posted this as an RT It might be a good place to start building a model for Design as Process.


I hope for more focus on process than typology but am open to your thoughts.

Comment by Mark Watson on December 23, 2010 at 23:14

Merry Christmas (to those that observe), and a happy New Year to all.

Thanks for your contribution and patience (I'll get back to you Guido)


Mark Watson

Comment by Guido Stompff on December 11, 2010 at 16:42

Hi Mark,


No I did not know this matrix. Is rather helpful for my PhD work as well, so thanks!! Maybe inteested to read a blog of me on the subject as well: 

Comment by Mark Watson on December 11, 2010 at 3:11

Thanks Guido


It brings to mind the work of Richard Byrd and his Creatrix

Even designers who have studied and practiced for year find themselves at varying positions on this matrix, but I will hold that designers are better prepared in the use of these skills, whether intuitively or trained than say a management consultant.

The looseness of the use of the term Service Design could cross over to organisational management or change management, but it is not as easy as changing your DeBono hat colour, when it comes to design.

Designers as creatives rather than innovators are well placed to bring other dimensions to the field of organisational change. 

Comment by Guido Stompff on December 10, 2010 at 14:34

In reaction to GK van Patter: I understand your concern with the nasty habit of designers to name themselves the 'creatives. Actually Sabine Junginger wrote an paper on it once, that showed why (one of the reasons) Siemens Design broke their own contribution down to mere stylism, as a result of their tnedency to be different / creative. However, despite the huge interest into design thinking outside the realm of designers and architects, I think one crucial asepect is still unnoted. Namely that designing takes years and years of practice. In Italy a 'young' designer or architect is around 40.....  Point is- despite the mixing up of conecepts, words, vocabulary and so on- to become a creative designer / architect / sovcial designer / orgaizational designer / information designer: you need  years of practice. And I think actually someone traine dto think this way in one domain, can easily make the leap to other domains. And I doubt whether persons who trained, educated and practiced into thinking e.g. as a analyst, ever can become a design thinker.  

Comment by Mark Watson on November 15, 2010 at 4:46
Thanks for your thoughts GK, but I have to disagree.

In a recent book, “The Handbook of Social Research Ethics” (Mertens & Ginsberg 2009) Mary Brydon-Miller, made a contribution which I admire, titled “Covenantal Ethics and Action Research”, on page 254 she wrote:

"Finally, moving away from a contractual definition of research ethics to a covenantal understanding of our deep and abiding responsibility to act in the interest of others, shifts or current identification of research as commodity to a system in which all research, not simply action research, is regarded as a source of common good."

This is an inclusive attitude which is refreshing against the traditional “adversarial” or “dominant” approach to the sharing of ideas.

In his Deakin lectures on “Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability” in 2009 Ezio Manzini is cited:

“According to Manzini the shift towards co-design is already evident in a transformation of the way that some businesses engage with potential end users in the co-creation of products – an area he refers to as ‘open innovation’. For Manzini, this is where the design community in general, and design schools in particular, can make a very important contribution”

He is talking about designers here, I have called them creatives, which seems to raise your hackles.

The benefits being experienced through developments in Co Design and Service Design are this inclusive, team based approach to problem solving. There is a school of thought that the adversarial CEO culture is dead and the team based corporate culture the way of the future.

I for one am looking forward to the day when corporate organisational structures house as standard, a CDO.
Comment by Mark Watson on November 14, 2010 at 22:14
Arnes post of last Thursday Nov 11 is a good synoptic tool in discussing process,
have a look (paste in address bar)
Comment by Mark Watson on October 27, 2010 at 15:32
GK, welcome, I knew I would smoke you out for a comment.
I use the term non creatives in a generalist sense.

I recall Anna Craft's notion in education research of small "c" creativity as opposed to large "C'" for design professionals. Everyone is creative but to varying degrees, which is what Verganti was alluding to.

Rufflemuffin and I had a brief conversation about typology a while back on MBTI.

Members (49)


Discussion Forum

Design as Process

Started by Mark Watson. Last reply by Heico Wesselius Mar 9, 2015. 6 Replies

Systems Design as Process

Started by Mark Watson. Last reply by Nat Maras Jun 14, 2012. 8 Replies


Started by Brian Ling. Last reply by Mark Watson Jun 11, 2012. 1 Reply




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