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Ways of Seeing: Instructions For Lost

At a time where boundaries are blurred and things unfamiliar, we’re grappling our way through media unfamiliar and unchartered. We’re lost. Feelings of fear, isolation, and even panic set in as we grapple with strategies for making our way out of out situations. Yet what is often overlooked is the simple value of being out of one’s element. With being lost comes increased awareness, heightened perspective, and the potential for experience. John Dewey described this as “having an experience,” writers describe it as “being objective,” and designers describe it as “getting perspective.”

This workshop teaches intentional strategies for gaining perspective—the same strategies one might use when you get lost—giving you insight and critical perspective. Take that perspective back to your work so you can achieve a fresh and close way of viewing the world.


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Ways of Seeing: Instructions For Lost

  1. 1. Ways of Seeing Instructions for Getting Lost August 07 2009 / The Feast Workshops
  2. 2. FRAME A perspective or viewpoint
  3. 3. “Primary frameworks allow its user to locate, perceive, identify, and label a seemingly infinite number of concrete occurrences.” ERVING GOFFMAN / FRAMEWORK ANALYSIS (1972)
  4. 4. discover define design develop deploy
  5. 5. beginning middle end
  6. 6. ready aim fire
  7. 7. the creative process a model of The creative process is classically described (Wallas, 1926) as Sometimes the goal is not clear. Participants don’t always agree preparation incubation illumination verification on how to define the problem. Such cases require a new frame, a new generative metaphor (Schön, 1990), or a new articulation Businesses often describe the process as of the essential question. research development execution of frames + metaphors drawing on a repertoire with experience + values through conversations Agreeing on goals may require iteration—may involve which must then be shared with other people. And it frames the situation—or selects a metaphor to explain it— It considers experience and values. Reflection begins as a conversation with oneself. These models suggest a tidy, linear structure a feedback loop. Several levels of loops may be nested: beginning middle end - a listing of assumptions and a first approximation of a solution - a primary process for refining the solution Simple sequences sound manageable, even predictable. - a process for agreeing on the goal of the primary process They promise tasks we can schedule and budget. That makes - a process for improving the process of agreeing on the goal them appealing to people who run organizations and worry about minimizing uncertainty and risk. But the creative process resists This “boot-strapping” process (Engelbart, 1962) is a sign of planning; it’s not a recipe, script, or formula. (How could it be?) learning systems and organizations (Argyis + Schön, 1978). In practice, the process is messy, iterative, and recursive. The creative process is not just iterative; it’s also recursive. Framed as a sequence, it’s a plan for achieving a goal It plays out “in the large” and “in the small”—in defining the ready aim fire broadest goals and concepts and refining the smallest details. It branches like a tree, and each choice has ramifications, Yet a first shot doesn’t always hit the target. Achieving a goal which may not be known in advance. Recursion also suggests may require a few tries; it may require iteration. Iteration is a a procedure that “calls” or includes itself. Many engineers looping process, using feedback from earlier attempts to define the design process as a recursive function: converge on a goal. Iteration enables participants to calibrate, discover define design develop deploy correct mistakes, build on accidents, add and remove detail, and improve skills through practice. The creative process involves many conversations—about goals and actions to achieve them—conversations with The creative process is less like a line and more like a loop: co-creators and colleagues, conversations with oneself. observe reflect make observe reflect make . . . The participants and their language, experience, and values affect the conversations. The process need not begin with observing; it may begin with any step. Boundaries between the steps are not rigid. Conversations about wicked problems especially benefit from— Each activity continues throughout the process, e.g., and may require—a variety of views. Some of these views making also involves reflecting and observing. form a habit of engaging (or observing, reflecting, and making) observe reflect make observe reflect make often called “design thinking.” It might be thought of more observe reflect make observe reflect make accurately as a set of lenses on design conversations observe reflect make observe reflect make or creative conversations. These lenses provide perspective beyond the immediate focus of the conversation or process: If the goal is clear—if we have agreed on how we define a - attention - understanding - searching problem, as in a math problem—then solutions may be implied. - openness - integration - envisioning And we know when to stop. If the goal is less clear, deciding when to stop requires judgment. The quality of the conversations is largely responsible for the outcome of the process. The quality of the resulting product But some problems are “wicked” (Rittel, 1969). Their definition reflects the quality of the creative process—and the curiosity depends on point of view; participants can always broaden and determination of the participants. or deepen their understanding and improve their solutions. to understand For such problems, starting and stopping are arbitrary and external to the process. It ends only when we “run out of time, money, or patience” (energy, will, or gumption). what people want how culture is evolving ex to integrate The res plora The goal Ge main is to bu nera tas tive k of ild a sh rese gene ar re ear tor by seeing patterns arch rativ ed un by building consensus gensearc inter e re derst ch y sects sear andin Explo refle ch is g of The rator reflect cting to co the de The main y re + mame up sired se era h At goal task arch kin with situa fir as st, the is to buof explo inter g. ide wo as. tion. explo rk curre ild a rator sects tive reac ratorprocee nt sit shar y re obse t to y re ds ua ed sear rvi newl sear and tion unde ch is ng + re y cr ch the pr may rstan to “m flecti bo eated may oces be ne ding ap ng. artifaalso inv s ite w; of the the ter in ch unda cts olv rates curre rain. or “d e ob , esign servi prob ng ho nt sit ” uatio de sight ma arac ries n. es.” w co nstitu ents cri finiti s + c ps ters + is ter ons on + m + su ia + + cep ode stor es goa hypo ts ls ies ls the ses implement illuminate incubate prepare iterate ve ser ake ss Some steps essential to the creative In the middle, the process as sequence Once an idea has been hatched and refined, ob nne process lie outside its core. may take a detour and iterate in a loop. it must still make its way into the world. Communicating the idea to others n Accepting responsibility for the task Many creative people have said and building consensus for adoption and preparing tend to be one-time, that their best ideas came (illumination) are part of the innovation process ntio upfront tasks. after putting aside a problem and m but may lie outside the core creative process. ope s letting it incubate. lture Passing on responsibility to others— rning + cu leaving a legacy— ss expla ining tte + lea le mind gy fulne imag is the final step in the larger process. ing er peop t + ener miniatures + wireframes ining the to e ith spec + wh future listen oth th re ssion ha tak rking at it wo thumbnails + sketches m ing quick g wi ting pa fro w migh d ma to s adva ly nvi outlines + prototypes an t me king actin ibu nta + ite ts wit ” ry ns contr ge an it tio uen flow mo of ac ting ear sio ra cid tan rsa stit he me ents gib le . in t uscle ials ers. elf nve + cond e n oth ones ch es olv n with ly inv tio o ing m er ns ing ersa h c xt are nc reas conv it incs as a “be on mat atio es ntinu o begin oug nte sh rie it co As ing als ak thr ith co g on expe andawing ols + nvers M e. guag reflect. hy? d lan and ? W re an back here cultu step rtant n. w awin ge + n po rn the u ca t’s im ersatio st lea n yo ha nv r h to co d it mu lf; the ?) W s co unity se doing thi w rough dr gua ers. comm your e we to aiduser s oth rse ar rks t, ce with ents’ imme hat wo jec , servi tion nstitu you ? (W l frametion, ob ages lan sa co y ing ra ss nver the slowl y do seve erac , me e th a co rt of g in; e the ed nt, int nts pher s as not pa kin t ar velop onme onme atmos ha begin are de loo ? W ve de vir envir cts, tion who outsi here rs) ha ity, enjects, artifa serva ts the is ne activ ob s, Ob cipan e on ? Who desig rk: ople, tivitie Parti you’r e we (and mewo rk: pe s, ac First re ar hers IOU fra mewo actor Whe nograp AE S fra work: Eth son’sPOEM 4 frame Robin r’s Ax Kuma tein’s Roths The main task of evaluative research is to determine Evaluative research intersects making + observing. where prototypes fail to live up to expectations. evaluative The goal is to keep the process on course. research The creative process plays an important role in the arts, design, science, and the professions (medicine, engineering, law, and business). It has many analogues and synonyms. quality cycle self-regulating system scientific method clinical process design process interaction loop The creative process is startlingly similar to the quality Like a self-regulating system, the creative process is Forming a hypothesis is a special type of creative act. When physicians meet patients, they begin by taking The design process viewed as “problem solving” (Jones, 1976), Interaction (with computers or the wider world) answers three cycle (Shewart, 1939), popularized in business circles by a classic feedback loop. Measure an essential variable; Framing the creative process as “experimenting” shows a history and examining the patient; tests may be indicated, “problem seeking” (Peña, 1987) or “turning existing situations into questions: What do you sense? (feel?) How do you learn + plan? the quality management movement (Deming, 1982). compare it to a goal; and act to eliminate any difference. the close tie it has with the domain of science. which contribute to a diagnosis, which indicates therapy. preferred” (Simon, 1969) is a variation on the creative process. (know?) How do you change things? (do?) (Verplank, 2000). hypothesis synthesize diagnose compare know? plan on nt ck re ati e e min lyz me asu te at lua l? fee act che do? erv ana do exa eri tre me obs exp eva Copyright © 2009 Dubberly Design Office Institute for the Creative Process Dubberly Design Office prepared this concept map as a project the nature of the creative process and design thinking. ACAD is Design and writing by Hugh Dubberly and Shelley Evenson Printed in Canada 2501 Harrison Street, #7 at the Alberta College of Art+Design of the Institute for the Creative Process at the Alberta College of a leading centre for education and research, and a catalyst for Research by ACAD faculty Vera Gartley, Wayne Giles, San Francisco, CA 94110 1407-14 Ave NW Art+Design. The Institute exists to focus and organize activities, creative inquiry and cultural development. Walter May, and Justin Waddell 415 648 9799 Calgary, AB Canada enterprises, and initiatives of ACAD with regard to the cultivation Creative direction by Jack Chung, Robin Bahr, and Paul Pangaro T2N 4R3 of dialogue, research, and special projects that directly address Please send comments about this model to icp@acad.ca. 403 284 7670 the creative process HUGH DUBBERLY, COLLABORATION WITH JACK CHUNG, SHELLEY EVENSON, PAUL PANGARO