Upon searching for past (yet recent) theses within the SCAD eCollection, I began the search with direct keywords from my initial topic: Maximizing Team Dynamics: Matching Creative Personalities Toward Achieving Efficient Processes and Potentially Innovative Solutions.
The most obvious realization was, “Oops, I seriously need to specify my topic.” As of today, “efficient processes” and “potentially innovative solutions” could mean anything. Perhaps, I need to narrow my focus to an actual design team with a given size, specific field (graphic design) and intention. After all, what’s my intention? This is a question that I’m still mulling over, while retaining the vision that I have for graphically executing it.
In all fairness, I’m an entire quarter away until I need to approach the review board. In other words, I’ve come to expect this part of the phase in the process, before the quarter began. However, I did act upon awareness and began by creating a working list of keywords that expand upon my initial search entries, which were: “managing creative teams,” “team dynamics,” and “user experience” – the latter of which, results in too many search results.
Altogether, I downloaded fifteen different theses to review – one of which I had already become familiar with: Dustin Larimer’s Exploring Opportunities For Technological Innovation and Reconfiguration in the Local Food Sector. Larimer’s topic caught my attention last year, while contemplating whether or not I should pursue the agriculture and whole foods sector. Alas, I pressed on. I decided to choose two theses that best matched my initial topic.
The first choice is Tonya Miller’s The Participatory Design Process as a Means of Promoting a Culture of Sustainability: A Toolkit for Designing Sustainable Workplace Environments, in pursuit of a MFA in Interior Design. Miller’s thesis is 164 pages, complete with five different case studies. Miller’s topic is closely related to my own concept, as the term “toolkit” caught my attention with the preconceived idea of developing a GUI for social mapping software. In other words, like Miller, I’ve been exploring if it’s both relevant and possible to measure intangible components that relate to team dynamics. If possible to accurately track, what can these components tell us about ourselves as individuals within a design team, and about our design team dynamics.
Miller’s thesis statement is, “The purpose of this thesis is to demonstrate how a participatory design process and the application of a systemic stakeholder framework can support the development of an environmentally-sustainable organizational culture and facilitate a mutually beneficial relationship between occupants and sustainable workplace environments.”
The abstract explains a similar approach to my own, focused on a participatory design process, organizational leadership and sustainability. Miller begins with a book that I’m also rather familiar with, McDonough and Braungart’s Cradle to Cradle, highlighting the concept of downcycling. The downside to this thesis (because we are graphic designers) is that the formatting for her abstract is center-justitfied? Thus far, I feel that I’m off to a good start.
The second choice didn’t arrive as easily, competing with the remaining fourteen options. I decided to choose those closely related to what I had in mind, beginning with Amie Calisti’s thesis, Knowledge as an event: Dialogic Interaction Between Physical Experiences and Congnitive Understanding.
Calisti’s thesis is stated as, “knowledge as an event, a dialogic interaction between physical experiences and cognitive understanding. Knowledge does not occur as an addendum separate from an individual, it is continually created within one’s existence through one’s perceptions and projections of place. Therefore, this study focuses on the individual as the nucleus for knowledge and how he/ she bonds or exchanges with the greater surrounding atmosphere.”
The downside to Calisti’s thesis is that it concentrates on junior high school (or middle school) as its primary audience. Regardless, I may very well be able to learn from Calisti’s research, despite that her focus is in architecture.
A few other theses to explore, not mentioned:
Alzarooni, Saad Aqeel. Participatory Cultural Mapping: An Evolutionary Approach with a Revolutionary Picture in Mind. April 2012. SCAD eCollection. PDF. Accessed: Jan 2013.
Larimer, Dustin. Exploring Opportunities for Technological Innovation and Reconfiguration in the Local Food Sector. July 2011. SCAD eCollection. PDF. Accessed: Jan 2013.
Mallory, Renée Marie. Adaptive Design for Visual Communicators:
Reexamining Relationships and Making Theory Apply. May 2011. SCAD eCollection. PDF. Accessed: Jan 2013.
Sloan, Melanie. Concept to Concept: Bridging the Cross-Disciplinary Communication Gap. May 2012. SCAD eCollection. PDF. Accessed: Jan 2013.
Torres, Carla Paola. Empathy: A Driving Force in Graphic Design. Nov 2012. SCAD eCollection. PDF. Accessed: Jan 2013.
Calisti, Amie. Knowledge as an event: Dialogic Interaction Between Physical Experiences and Congnitive Understanding. August 2011. SCAD eCollection. Accessed: Jan 2013.
Miller, Tonya. The Participatory Design Process as a Means of Promoting a Culture of Sustainability: A Toolkit for Designing Sustainable Workplace Environments. May 2012. SCAD eCollection. Accessed: Jan 2013.