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Designing design

Debating about design in the social media of business seems aimed at designing Design itself; but the results so far are not very persuasive. This is a significant knowledge management problem.

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Designing design

  1. 1. DESIGNING DESIGN A Knowledge Management Challenge
  2. 2. Experience, Designed Recently we saw yet another online debate concerning how to “properly” identify different but interconnected realms of “design”. The disputed turfs ranged from UI to UX, Service Design, Systems Design, and (according to many), CX. Most of the debate consisted of which argued distinctions were the “correct” way to segment the scope of design. Floating above the debate, the apparent question is, why does this segmentation matter, or at least, who cares? The answer we propose is that they differentiate levels of interaction that collectively account for the potential overall experience made available or, conversely, found unavailable. Those differences ought to be describable in ordinary language and probably would quell much of the debate if they were. For example, if UI=controls, then UX=function, Service=effect, Systems=environment, and CX=impact. It’s not hard to understand how these differences are related.
  3. 3. THE DESIGNED EXPERIENCE IMPACTS ENVIRONMENTS EFFECTS FUNCTIONS CONTROLS Increasingly specific influence on the event in the moment Increasingly broad range (scope) of peripheral influences to be considered THE DESIGNED EXPERIENCE if UI=controls, UX=function, Service=effect, Systems=environment, and CX=impact. We kinda knew this already, before the acronyms and synonyms took over. Still, saying it and doing it are two different things. Meanwhile, beneficiaries are at the top level, and operators are at the bottom level. Each level does something within the context of the level above it. © 2020 malcolm ryder / archestra research
  4. 4. The Who Cares Test Each of those differences (the levels in the stack diagram) can be intentionally organized – separately (independently) and together (dependently). Each difference can be changed separately, in order to create, restore or improve an overall resulting experience in some way that another difference alone cannot. Casually speaking, each difference is either a problem to solve or an option to provide, “by design”… Those differences correspond (or, contribute) to other aspects of experience that, under pressure of desire or need, determine whether something is preferable (appropriate) or not preferable. Those corresponding aspects include utility, quality, value, safety, and others. Above and beyond possession, application or consumption, preference is the target future state (experience) that drives design.
  5. 5. Problematic Knowledge Too often in the online debating, the key correspondences (utility, quality, value, safety, and other) were not openly stated as the source of a commenter’s point of view. An additional problem was that commenters did not clearly state their Roles as the perspective they brought to their reactions to original posts. Participation in debate can be motivated by many things ranging from real research to simple self-promotion. Meanwhile, not everyone has degrees or certifications, or even adequately broad skills by trial-&-error in design. But every participant in the debate somehow either has or wants responsibility for design. Additionally, in the online dialogue, commenters (responders) often simply changed the topic with or within their comments… These problems made much of the debate counter-productive, creating and adding as much confusion as there was any clarity to be gained. Unmoderated debate does not provide much structure or filter to help prioritize one thing over another. But if we assume that open-source knowledge and self-service knowledge are viable pursuits, then the confusion is worth resolving and thereafter avoiding. We decided to try to sort things out.
  6. 6. Debates about Designing The underlying generic themes about design were to “adopt it”, “gain advantage with it”, “do a good job at it”, and “comply with best practice for it”. Those seem like broadly acceptable ideas. But in the near-continual online re- examining of design, there is both positive and negative interaction and reaction among people. Some seem intent on making design more universally and explicitly “regular” – therefore more widely deployable and predictably controllable. Others imply that it is perhaps too complex for most people to tame and that its effectiveness depends on who is doing it. But challenges in the discussions usually pitted the speaker’s attitude against the reader’s (commenter’s) acceptance. Speakers (authors of original posters) typically offered inspiration, endorsement, instruction, or dogma with their assertions about design or designing. Theme about Design or Designing Attitude of Message Adopt Inspiration Gain Endorsement Perform Instruction Comply Dogma
  7. 7. Design Messages Theme about Design or Designing Attitude of Message Adopt Inspiration Gain Endorsement Perform Instruction Comply Dogma But nothing provoked push-back faster than someone saying “How To…” Speakers covered a range of generally accepted ideas.
  8. 8. Deconstructing the Debates But nothing provoked push-back to speakers’ statements faster than posts saying “How To…” We extracted, the How To Design topics without regard to particular domains, schools, or industries. We also noted each topic’s distinctive association with certain issues and roles. Then we mapped them against the apparent types and degrees of acceptance and attitudes. See tables below. What is being discussed? models procedures requirements technique type ideation demand
  9. 9. A completely unscientific survey of posts about “design” on business social media gave the following general categories of “topics”. This range of issues, taken altogether, appears to be an open-ended discussion aimed at designing “design” itself –through either refining or replacing whatever has been prevalent in the “groupthink” so far. Topic (generic) What is being discussed? Who’s talking/listening? How to design: process Models Teachers, Instructors How to design correctly Procedures Auditors, Students How to design well Requirements Practitioners, Developers How to design smartly Technique Managers, Consultants How to design <item X> Type Experts, Specialists How to design uniquely Ideation Creators, Inventors How to design profitably Demand Marketers, Suppliers In the near-continual online re-examining of design, there is both positive and negative interaction and reaction among people. Some seem intent on making design more universally and explicitly “regular” – therefore more widely deployable and predictably controllable. Others imply that it is perhaps too complex for most people to tame and that its effectiveness depends on who is doing it. Design Ideas
  10. 10. SKEPTICISM The idea being asserted was clearly debatable regardless of its attractiveness HOPEFULNESS The idea being asserted was strongly and aspirationally attractive regardless of current validation COMPETITION The idea being asserted was contradictory to the reacting reader’s own preferred idea ADVOCACY The idea being asserted was attractive as a proposed standard or solution dogmainspiration endorsement instruction reject consider agree Reader’sacceptance Speaker’s attitude Decoding the Commentary Commentary about design or designing came from people in all different roles. But when a given post asserted something, reactions to it fell into four broad categories. We saw this happen as a pattern of associations between the poster’s attitude and the reader’s disposition.
  11. 11. SKEPTICISM HOPEFULNESS COMPETITION ADVOCACY dogmainspiration endorsement instruction reject consider agree process correctly correctlywell smartly <item X> <item X> uniquely uniquely profitably smartly profitably Reader’sacceptance Speaker’s attitude process well THE WHO CARES TEST: Acceptance of ideas Topics about design and designing: speakers assert things for various reasons; readers react according to their predisposition and what they are looking for.
  12. 12. SKEPTICISM HOPEFULNESS COMPETITION SOLUTION THE WHO CARES TEST: Ideas vs. Professionals dogmainspiration endorsement instruction reject consider agree teachers auditors auditorspractitioners managers experts experts creators creators marketers managers marketers Reader’sacceptance Speaker’s attitude teachers practitioners Topics about design and designing: speakers assert things for various reasons; readers react according to their predisposition and what they are looking for.
  13. 13. SKEPTICISM HOPEFULNESS COMPETITION SOLUTION THE WHO CARES TEST: Ideas vs. Roles dogmainspiration endorsement instruction reject consider agree instructors students studentsdevelopers consultants specialists specialists inventors inventors suppliers consultants suppliers Reader’sacceptance Speaker’s attitude instructors developers Topics about design and designing: speakers assert things for various reasons; readers react according to their predisposition and what they are looking for.
  14. 14. Archestra notebooks compile and organize decades of in-the-field empirical findings. The notes offer explanations of why things are included, excluded, or can happen in certain ways or to certain effects. The descriptions are determined mainly from the perspective of strategy and architecture. They comment on, and navigate between, the motives and potentials that predetermine the decisions and shapes of activity as discussed in the notes. As ongoing research, all notebooks are subject to change. ©2020 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research ©2020 Malcolm Ryder / Archestra Research www.archestra.com mryder@archestra.com

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