THOUGHTS ON IDEAS
This week’s lecture kicks off our next phase of the course: PROCESS. We will be taking stock of our experience today and introduced to new methods of thinking and ideation.
Through the lecture we learn that there is not only a historical genesis of ideation starting back with the Bauhaus, but numerous ways to generate ideas and models of design process.
The Bauhaus design era rang in a prominent place not only in the design but also the global community as its methodologies were taken more seriously and seen as more scientific. The Bauhaus revolutionized design process methodologies by introducing multidisciplinary approaches to learning as shown in the diagram below.
Bauhaus visionaries such as Bruce Archer and Brian Lawson introduced additional design process that attempted to identify design best practice through linear methodologies seen below respectively:
The post-Bauhaus era of design introduces the idea that design processes are difficult to standardize and that non-linear, adaptable, flexible, and responsive design methods including loops and iteration allowed for time and various pathways to solve problems including the Six Hats and Double-Diamond design process
With the Six Hats approach, Edward de Bono proposes a method wherein all angles of a given problem at the same time are examined through six unique lenses or hats. No single view is to dominate the process. This provides opportunities to examine a problem and ideate on probable solutions ideally without single-channel or biased outcomes.
White Hat focuses on available data (facts and figures) while remaining neutral. Participants are encouraged to review existing information, search for gaps in knowledge, analyze past trends, and extrapolate key learnings from historical data.
Red Hat uses intuition, gut reaction, and robust emotion. Encourages participants to think about how other people will react emotionally and try to understand the responses of people who do not fully know your reasoning. Participants do not need to explain or justify individual expressions of feelings.
Yellow Hat is a deliberate search for the positive (optimistic viewpoint) through exploration and speculation defining the benefits of the decision and the value in it.
Green Hat stands for energy and creativity. This is where you generate new, innovative ideas and develop creative solutions to a problem.
Blue Hat is process control “thinking about thinking”. This is the hat worn by people chairing or facilitating the session. Blue Hat focuses on questioning and provides the structure for use of other hats and other thinking and problem-solving tools.
Black Hat is the basis of logical, critical thinking offering careful, cautious, and defensive insights. Try to see what is wrong; why it might not work; what are the dangers, problems, and obstacles; what are the deficiencies in the thinking process. It allows you to eliminate the negatives, alter plans, or prepare contingency plans to counter any problems.
The Double Diamond approach covers four major process areas: discover, define, develop, and deliver.
Discover is a period of divergent or expansive thought done at the start of a project. Perspectives are intentionally kept wide as questions are asked and problems are posed.
Define is the phase where information is interpreted, meaning is found, stories are articulated and opportunities are framed.
Develop is the refining phase where one or more concepts are honed to address the problem or issue.
Deliver is where the final concept is tested, approved, launched, and feedback is provided.
Evolve identifies a fifth phase which proposes that design is really completely final as the human experience is ever evolving, fluid, not fixed.
THINKING FAST AND SLOW
Kahneman’s text, Thinking Fast and Slow, explores the idea that our thinking is in two parts: fast and slow.
Fast thinking is instantaneous and automatic, instinctive and emotional, and a remnant from our evolutionary past.
Slow thinking is deliberate, effortful, complex, calculated, conscious, aware, and considerate. It is the newer portion of our thinking process coming online in the last few thousand years.
These two systems of thinking can be at odds and do not always work collaboratively.
THE DIVIDED BRAIN
The animated RSA video of Iain McGilchrist’s talk on The Divided Brain illustrates how the human brain’s left and right brains while are both required for thinking, are often in opposition. He summarizes the differences as, “the left hemisphere, dependent on denotative language and abstraction, it yields clarity and power to manipulate things that are known, fixed, static, isolated, decontextualized, explicit, general in nature, but ultimately lifeless. The right hemisphere by contrast yields a world of individual, changing, evolving, interconnected, implicit, incarnate, living beings in the context of the lived world, but in the nature of things never fully graspable, never perfectly known.”
McGilchrist outlines a list of tensions that exist between right and left brain respectively:
The new vs. the known
Possibility vs. certainty
Flow vs. fixity
The whole vs. parts
Integration vs. division
Implicit vs. explicit
Context vs. abstraction
Qualification vs. quantification
Animate vs. inanimate
Realistic vs. optimistic
Presence vs. representation
It was both a bit depressing and inspiring to be presented with the ending statement from McGilchrist by reading Einstein’s quote reflecting on our hemispheric brains, “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We live in a society that honours the servant and has forgotten the gift.”
THINKING TOO MUCH AND TOO LITTLE
The School of Life video, Thinking Too Much; and Thinking Too Little, exposes the viewer to two habits of human thought: too much and too little.
Two much involves filling our brains and lives with so much information and thought that we don’t allow room for reflection, reality, emotion, and feeling.
Two little in opposition demands so little of thought that the inclination of knowing in and of itself is overwhelming and thus denying a true sense of self.
Seems like balance of thought and a willingness to recognize our capability of falling two keenly on one side or the other is to be human.
11 lessons: Managing design in global brands. (2017, November 03). Retrieved from https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/resources/report/11-lessons-managing-design-global-brands
Cotton, J. (2019, March 08). Thinking Too Much; and Thinking Too Little. Retrieved from https://www.theschooloflife.com/thebookoflife/thinking-too-much-and-thinking-too-little/
De Bono, E. (1999). Six Thinking Hats, Revised Edition. Little, Brown and Co: London.
Kahneman, D. (2015). Thinking, fast and slow. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
RSA, T. (2011, October 21). RSA ANIMATE: The Divided Brain. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dFs9WO2B8uI