OCAD University Open Research Repository

Designing Futures by Empowering Novice Designers

Reid, Doug and Bisessar, Reshmi (2024) Designing Futures by Empowering Novice Designers. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Reid, Doug and Bisessar, Reshmi

“There is a sweet spot between the known and the unknown where originality happens; the key is to be able to linger there without panicking.”
Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar
All design involves shaping the future - from an industrial design prototype that combines new and old materials to a strategic designer grappling with the complexities of inter-connected systems, each one is optimistically moving towards an intended future. To design such futures, we need more than research, analysis, synthesis, and strategy. We need a commitment to and a deep appreciation of design methods. Ultimately the most nuanced and insightful foresight work is realized through design, design that moves people towards preferred futures.
Whose future? How to frame such complex problems? How to consider and weigh potential future pathways? These vexing issues paralyze inexperienced designers, often appearing as a collection of magical acts that are a rarefied mix of process, experience, and intuition. How then does an inexperienced designer move from novice to expert?
Our research has been informed by a comprehensive literature review of design and design history, a survey of design practitioners and industry interviews with both inexperienced and experienced design professionals. This report embraces a three-act structure and focuses on: the changing nature of design and designers and how education providers have responded to these challenges; a synthesis of survey and interview responses that helps define the future designer; and practical recommendations to assist novice designers in their continued learning towards the development of their design practice.
Our key findings include the realization that design methods are either assumed or overlooked in most graduate design programs that focus on futures-related endeavors. Further, through synthesis, we distilled six insights, which include: Good design starts with advocacy; Design is an anticipatory state of being; On the road to mastery, Learn from travelers; Design depth over scratching the surface; Going beyond the algorithm to develop curiosity and Design literacy matters.
These insights are intended to act as inspirational criteria for crafting design learning, and we offer a prototype that combines physical and digital tools to assist the novice designer. We hope this prototype encourages the development and adoption of design habits - habits that are more than just efficiencies or techniques, but rather the forging of an identity, towards becoming a designer of futures.

Date: 30 April 2024
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Strategic Foresight and Innovation
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 30 Apr 2024 18:43
Last Modified: 30 Apr 2024 18:43
URI: https://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/4360

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