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 described as creativity deployed to a specific end.


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I love the delineation of creativity and innovation.  Most people seem to think that creativity is the need - which I understand, but I've also seen creativity applied to the wrong problem many times, as we all have.

Welcome to the group, Andrew.

I agree that 'blue sky'  (or ocean depending on your camp) thinking has its place, and incremental innovation works well in say humanitarian situations where the risk to life is too high.

But as Verganti (an engineer) suggests 'creativity' has its place in setting goals for incremental innovators to build bridges to.

2007 at the first ConnectEd Conference on Design Education held in Sydney, a keynote spoke on Bridge Design as incremental innovation, each new bridge a thinner, leaner design than the predecessor, some disasters have evolved from this cautious approach. Blue sky creatives would question the need for a bridge and suggest alternate transport.

So I still can't quite get what people find so hard about the 'C' word when brilliant minds like Amabile etal have dedicated their lives to its exploration.

Hi Mark,

I'm guessing that 'specific end' means achieving a desirable goal?

If so, it is that 'specific end' that make sense when you've got an issue/ problem to overcome or a need to address. I'm hoping that in future 'jams' we could introduce a problem as a 'design challenge' and a measurable outcome as a 'specific end'. In that sense, it would give us some constraint.

Albeit not the intention of the jam, I felt it was missing. Certainly missing from the majority of business analysts I've come across. Useful steps I think to frame ideas as propositions for customers: initial pitch, business model generation canvas, investment logic etc. I've found a step through guide on structuring the pitch in Jerry Weissmans 'power presentation' to be extremely useful.

I tend to skip 'processes' and talk about Disciplines. Process is usefull for reducing variability, specially for unskilled, while Discipline creates excellence in hands of skilled. So how to process creativity? And innovation? And design? Design is a discipline where you add skills to a specific end not only creativity. If we try to find a nice highlight i'd say: Design as connectivity deployed to a specific end.

Enjoy it!

Hi, All,

I have been lurking in the background for a while but I would like to contribute to this important forum of "design as a process'.  I think it is also appropriate to link this statement to design thinking.  Without going too much into history of design thinking -- paper onto itself-- the original contributions of design thinking came about from the design methods movement. This can be considered as one of the streams of design thinking. More specifically within design research, please consult Buchanan (1992).  Within the next few months, PhD Candidate Stefani Di Russo, will finish her PhD dissertation and within her circle of mapping individuals to various streams within design thinking, she indicates that this stream was  developed sometime in the 60s'. This research was concerned about the comprehension of methods as well as processes by professional designers as they are work on solving problems. A good reference here is Cross (2001). It is valid for Mark to say that "design may be described as creativity deployed to a specific end" but it is about the understanding of cognitve processes and how these professional designers work with problems (Cross, 2001; Kimbell, 2011). Still trying to find out exactly when in the 60s. 

I could have stated this in much simpler terms: the design process is what puts design thinking into action.  


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