MIX07: Design 3.0

by April 30, 2007

GK VanPatter's Design 3.0 talk at MIX07 outlined the challenges facing the design discipline today and how a rethinking of design education and practice is needed to adapt.

  • NextD’s charter: articulate how design is changing through community research, sense-making, sharing, and transformation.
  • The Gap Story: there’s a difference between what people are doing at the leading edge of practice and what is being taught within design schools.
  • The problems designers used to face were single discipline, simple problems that they solved by themselves. Now, designers are asked to solve multidiscipline, complex problems, with diverse teams.
  • Today parallel processing is how projects are run but most designers were trained in sequential processes. In particular, as form givers at the end of a process. Now designers not only have the opportunity to be involved throughout the process but to be leaders of the process themselves.
  • Who will lead design in the 21st century? If design educators do not change, it will not be designers.
  • The Squeeze Story: design is squeezed from the top by strategic leadership & from the bottom by tactical implementation requirements.
  • The availability of cheaper & faster development (most notably through outsourcing) drives the squeeze from the bottom.
  • A new focus on design as a competitive growth engine (the ipod model) drives the squeeze from the top.
  • Designers need to develop problem framing skills. Otherwise someone else will the frame problems designers work on for them.
  • The Transformation Story: we need to help design community move up into strategic space.

Transitioning Design

  • Traditional Design: form-giving, exclusive, mostly about what (content knowledge), hidden/internal magic process, complex/coded communication (tribal language), fixing problems
  • Design 3.0: leadership, inclusive, also about how (process knowledge), protector/orchestrator of all thinking styles, cross tribal/clear/decoded communication, fixing problems & generating opportunities
  • Transitioning the Role of Design: 1) mastering tools 2) mastering framed problem solving 3) mastering unframed problems (clients don’t know exactly what the problem is). Design disciplines have not been great at engaging when clients don’t know what the problem is.
  • Poly-lingual Process Master: knows universal processes that can be applied across many disciplines.
  • Design 3.0: transformation design, rethinking, innovation, leadership – the future is not about more consumer products.
  • Design 2.0: product design connected to innovation, added attributes of ethnography. Industrial Design gets reinvented & repositioned as Design Innovation.
  • Design 1.0: traditional design.
  • Dollars are going down for Design 1.0 space, going up for the Design 3.0 space.
  • People who go to business school are learning Design 3.0 space. They are taught the skills of problem framing.
  • 1.0: outbound skills = form giving aesthetics
  • 2.0: outbound skills = observation of customer behavior
  • 3.0: outbound skills = participatory co-creation. Inbound skills =improving team behavior & coordination. Design is much more interested in organizational issues. Want to embed innovation capability into the organization.

Innovation Profiles

  • Discipline divisions not as useful for forming innovation teams. Traditionally teams are organized by designer, developer, marketer, etc.
  • Innovation: pattern creation & pattern optimizing. When innovation is the charter of an optimizing team, that’s a poor fit.
  • Innovation Profiles: implementer, optimizer, generator, conceptualizer.
  • Innovation Profiles analyze your problem solving preferences not your personality.
  • Innovation challenges within teams can be understood through innovation profiles.
  • Has no vision: too many implementers & optimizers
  • Does not get along: optimizers & generators or implementers & conceptualizers
  • Thinks Too Much: too many generators & conceptualizers
  • Innovation needs to be thought of consistently across an organization. This way everyone can be involved.