Advanced Design Cultures: A learning system perspective

Roberto Iniguez Flores

During the past decades, the praxis of design has been extended, it has been increasing its areas of focus, from its traditional territories of a problem-solving activity that shapes products, communication and environments, to a broader practice that approaches more complex subjects, such as social, territorial and organizational issues.

In order to address the complexity of these new approaches design is evolving into a new cultures that are very diverse and emergent, these design cultures require a new characterization for its understanding.

A way to approach this phenomenon is to observe the areas of focus or the “new” outputs that these practices are producing, certainly, some authors have pointed out these possible two ways to give understanding about them; I propose a third way to approach this issue, focused on its processes, carrying out qualitative and quantitative research methods to give an understanding on how these advanced design cultures are generating new kind of design processes.

Some of the keys to giving light on the advanced design processes are anticipation, strategies and competencies; advanced design processes are more anticipatory, they have a longer-term look because the design focus is on paradigms changing, they operate in the strategy level, because they switch from the traditional problem-solving approach to an opportunity-finding approach, and by doing this anticipatory, strategic processes they require (and develop) new skill and competencies. These advanced design competencies can be discriminated from the traditional design competencies, by using a learning system perspective we can be able to comprehend how design operates on these extended (or advanced) territories, and how individuals, groups and organization develop knowledge and expertise from its practices.

Making a historical review on the different points of view about design learning, this conference goes from the seminal approaches of Schön´s reflection-in-action postulates, passing through the design management approaches form the 90´s, and Nelson´s expertise propositions, or Cross and Leifer design thinking examinations, this conference presents the framework for the competencies and knowledge generation inside the design processes. And introducing the systems and information theory references presents a series of tools to observe and understand the phenomena of learning situated within the confines of the advanced design cultures.

Posted: Oct-2018

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