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Design & Innovation Consultants

Thoughts

Design: The potential of design thinking acknowledged in Australia

Design: The potential of design thinking acknowledged in Australia

26 June 2013

A video published on the ABC News website finally recognisies the potential of 'design thinking' beyond the traditional sphere of creative industries (architecture, product design, advertising, graphic design, fashion, etc).  Watch video (3.47mins)

While the presenter introduces design as "a new way of understanding customer needs", it is so much more.  The Business program from which the short video has been taken was broadcast on 25 June, and provides a greater sample of 'design thinking' applications.  Watch program (25mins).

"Creative Australia is informed by the belief that a creative nation is a productive nation in the fullest sense of the word—empathic, respectful, imaginative, industrious, adaptive, open and successful." (Source: Creative Australia National Cultural Policy - read here)

Research: seeing design

Research: seeing design

22 March 2013

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes. Marcel Proust

The innovation white papers of developed economies (notably of UK, USA and Australian origin) recognize an inability to compete with other countries on manufacturing and labour costs, and have turned their attention to creative or innovative industries, such as design, to help drive business and create value.  People are increasingly satisfying their aspirations through consumption yet not evidently reaching a position of wellbeing and contentment, the ideal lifestyle.  The complexity of the economic, social and political world we live in no doubt contributes to a feeling of disenchantment and disregard for the collective interests of society. 

When designers put pencil to paper (or the digital equivalent!), they may be shaping the lives of others with a single a gesture, a line to divide city boundaries, to subdivide a lot, to put up a wall, to insert a door, to add a shelf, to locate a wire.  Given the complexity of the way we live, the responsibilities and opportunities professional designers face are enormous.  Our current lifestyles are unsustainable and in order for the creative industries to play a role in delivering more sustainable alternatives, it is crucial to make some headway in understanding the complexity of the interplay between context and human behaviour contributing to lifestyle. 

Research: interpreting design

Research: interpreting design

22 March 2013

Few people reach complete self-actualization in their lives or homes.  How far we climb up Maslow’s hierarchy is dependent on a complex interplay of the physical, emotional, social, and aesthetic forces we have experienced…  As near poets we can be creators… we set aside all images labeled 'ideal home' or 'ideal place'…  On the domestic level, especially, some place like home must reflect the best of each of us uniquely, not the best of someone else. Israel, 2003

Design research can help us delve deeper into the process of finding individual personhood through becoming an independent and capable creator and maker; someone who can be generally self-sufficient and resourceful, and what is more – is able to adapt their environment in response to and in order to shape changing desires, wants and needs.  Taking a different vantage point reveals qualities of an autotelic person in a way that, when combined with the creative practices of place-making, may add weight to the beneficial potential of research into moderated consumption practices and more sustainable behaviour.

Research: repositioning design

Research: repositioning design

22 March 2013

The focus of design anthropology is on connecting the process of design to the meanings and functions designed artefacts have for people.  Design anthropology does not place separate emphasis on values, or design, or experience, which are the domains of philosophy, academic design research, and psychology, respectively.  Rather, design anthropology focuses on the interconnecting threads among all three, requiring hybrid practices.  Tunstall, 2008

Design anthropology challenges taken for granted assumptions about the way we live.  As an approach to analysis it is relatively new, and predominantly uses anthropological research methods in combination with the process of design and elements of psychological investigation.  Such data gathering and analysis may include; analytic approaches such as traditional ethnographic field studies/surveys, empirical observation, participant diary/self-documentation, interviews, case studies; and creative or ‘experimental’ approaches, such as sketching (concept + analysis diagrams), flow charts, mind mapping, brainstorming, focus groups, model making and photo-montage.  

 

Design: from + in context

Design: from + in context

06 March 2013

Most traditional creative disciplines have areas of specific design expertise at the core of their business while operating within a wider context, such as architecture or urban design operating within the construction industry, and beyond that as part of a complex social, political, economic, cultural and technologically facilitated global environment.

After many years of cross-cultural development experience creating new communities and designing commercial, leisure and living environments, the team at kwokka found they had begun to focus more on the context itself as the initiator of design opportunities, than on addressing traditional design \'problems\' in isolation.

The design practice evolved around a deep interest in the generation of value through designing for ongoing transformation rather than the delivery of a fixed output. We firmly believe that developing design ideas requires sensitivity to the multi-dimensional context of our environment and an understanding of what drives complex human behaviour.

Design: for + with transformation

Design: for + with transformation

06 March 2013

Everyone - regardless of cultural or educational background, work role or home situation - operates in an environment that is continually changing. We are all constantly adapting to the context within which we live and work, while simultaneously altering things around us to suit our needs, desires and preferences.

Within businesses, organisations, establishments and households, people everywhere are agents of change: building on the past, shaping the present and actively creating the future. Individuals and groups in any situation have the potential to be innovative and inventive, and yet are not always successful in overcoming the inertia to take action.

Design: in + for participation

Design: in + for participation

06 March 2013

We believe design should be a dynamic, elastic, collaborative and participatory activity; one that engages other disciplines and fields of knowledge, acknowledges the value of alternative processes and practices, and utilises multiple tools, skills and methods of work.

As designers we assist in the development of ideas right through to the implementation of projects to realise client requirements and plan for ongoing transformation. We acknowledge clients are often experts of their field of knowledge, but specialisation often reduces an appreciation of the wider context.

Embracing co-production, co-design and collaboration enables us to develop fruitful working partnerships with our clients and facilitates the evolution of a broader perspective on transformative design opportunities.