Design Problem Solving

Having recently found a really great paper on problem solving, I thought I would expand my own thinking around this topic in this blog.

Designers are under estimated in this world, even though forward thinkers are the ones than can change it. Designing and planning are always two words I have noticed which have strong congruency. Planning larger works with in the expected confines of what is possible. Its thinking is largely, because of this and that and this, we should do that. Designing however takes far more cognitive load and tries to imagine a solution outside of the confines of what is expected. Designer also need clearer understanding of the constraints\limitations of the resources, components and users of their products or solutions and so they also may need time to research. Designers therefore can be rather underestimated by people around them because although they may seem totally clueless to an obvious answer. But the designer may be seeing a solution which may or may not be more optimal to the answer provided by others and so we need to understand why.

Not doubting that inventive design thinking can perform grand tasks that suddenly solve problems few recognised as solvable in the first place. But sometimes designers need time and there is always a risk there work can only be used in certain circumstances or areas. For example: robustness and convenience to the user are always the two main areas people should be looking for when purchasing a tool or similar product. Other considerations are energy and resource utilisation of the tool that is built (also cost in economic terms). Lower cost of a tool circumvents robustness as a priority because of the convenience of the product even though in the long term this may not be optimal.

Design thinking however tries to match contextual requirements of the problem and provide the user more enjoyment or ease of use of the product. This simplicity can offer many benefits mostly in that of saving time. Design considers such things as physical constraints (ergonomics) of the user (size, shape, visual limitations, hearing, etc.) and mental constraints (presupposed know-how, cognitive load and memory).

So where a problem may have been solved quickly with a make do solution, design may have improved convenience and\or robustness of the problem.


Food for thought.





December 1, 2016