Design – Introductory workshop – 4-5 October 2007

Sabine Junginger (LICA, Lancaster University)

Fiona Raby has shown that design and change are deeply linked. She has pointed to the strength of design as a way of challenging assumptions, using visualisation, prototyping, alternative scenarios, and thus pointing to new possibilities for product development. It also shows some weaknesses of design: it’s abstract, fun, but pointless? But design thinking allows problems to be addressed differently. It is not a decision-making tool or a business model, but a way of challenging assumptions.
Product development: the failure rate is 55-85% for all product design. There are many unsafe products. For instance, the Segway scooter moves people. George Bush fell off one. When Segway started, there was nothing there: no market. There is often a disconnect between the organisational development environment and everyday life. Exploitation is a more common mode of engagement than exploration. We need to understand better what design contributes to problem-solving and product development. This can be in many different contexts: tax offices need to afford access to their services. Products come in all shapes and sizes. If everything is designed, the question is what kind of design is at work.