Hugh Dubberly’s ‘How Do You Design?’ is a meeting ground for thoughts on details in process with the assumption that processes determine the quality of products and to improve the quality of products and encouraging the culture of re-design, we also need to improve the way we design. Which is why design process is so important.
This has by itself, been a huge learning for me. Over the years of continually doing client assignments, I ceased to challenge myself any further than meeting the requirements of the clients. I would, of course, follow process, however, this would be a simplified format, following the path of least resistance. During the course of the Units in this Semester for both courses, I have come to realize how important it is to be innovative with process in order to be innovative with the outcome.
While going through the material in this book, I observed that while all processes basically have the similar components of input-process-output, it was the analysis/synthesis of the input and process that leads to the output. And it is the analysis/synthesis steps that I need to include in my process depending on the kind of assignment I am handling. Within analysis/synthesis there are more steps that can be added in order to shed light on and give clarity to the direction where the project is headed. For example, like how it is explained in the ‘Expanding the Two-Step Process’ after Don Kober and Jim Bagnall (1972) where they add the following :
Analyse-define-ideate-select-implement-accept and then again analyse-define-ideate-select-implement-evaluate-synthesise.
When one considers the Dynamics of Divergence and Convergence after Bela H. Banathy (1996) it analyses boundaries, design options, core values and core ideas before converging by making choices.
Or when one considers Decomposition and Recombination after VDI 2221 (from Cross 1990) where the problem is analysed by breaking it down to its basics before rebuilding the synthesis of the solution.
Then when one looks at Academic models of processes across different streams, one realizes that processes whether simple or complex given the number of steps involved, more or less follows the similar premise of diagramming the process.
Design-Build-Test after Alice Agogino for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Lab is an interesting example of building into the simple three steps with further deeper analysis.
I found the Eight Phases of a Project interesting
- Project Initiation
- Wild Enthusiasm
- Search for the Guilty
- Punishment of the Innocent
- Promotion of Non Participants
- Definition of Requirements
Many times I have fallen into the same trap of step 2, 3, 4. Finding myself frustrated, disenchanted before being able to work through the problem. Sometimes the clients come in the way of processes as just when one thinks one has cracked it, along comes the client with a requirement or an addition or omission, which changes the course of the process.
I do realize the importance of process and also, that I need to add more levels of complexity depending on the project at hand, to the input-analysis-synthesis-output. It helps breakdown information on hand, and create alternate patterns to come up with a synthesis that ultimately provides an output.