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Origins of NextDesign Geographies

Talking up SenseMaking

[Part 1 of 3]

Ana Barroso in Conversation with GK VanPatter

Ana Barroso: Thanks for agreeing to do this Brazil – New York conversation. Every now and then, while reading a design or innovation related article, I find myself thinking “what would GK say about this?” Humantific has been in the sensemaking / strategic design business a long time and there are a number of questions that I want to ask you including what you think of this article by Mercin Treder entitled “Why everyone is a designer… but shouldn’t design“.

“GK VanPatter: The NextD research revealed significant marketplace shifts, a strategic design practice revolution and a highly complex design education mess that in large measure still exists today. Our task in that moment was to figure out a way to visualize what we learned from a methods perspective. We needed an organizing framework that made sense in this context.”

“In terms of ordering systems that might be applicable we knew that complexity ladders of numerous types existed in several subjects. The complexity scale idea has deep historical roots and was certainly not unique to our project or to design ecology..:-) If you Google complexity scales or complexity ladders thousands of versions come up spanning not decades but centuries.”

“As stories go what turned out to matter most is understanding that the dawdling, slow motion adaptation of design education leaders did not slow the change taking place in strategic design practice community. All the deflection and slow motioning by design education leaders really did was delay meaningful strategic change in design education. Now much of that community is playing catch up. The practice community has since 2005 been steadily building knowledge of how to operate in these expanded terrains.”

“Since launching NextD Geographies (7) and the various interconnected models we went on to complete the Design Thinking Made Visible Project (posted on Issuu as a virtual book) (6) and the book Innovation Methods Mapping: Demystifying 80+ Years of Innovation Process Design (soon to be published) (8). Our focus on advancing methods related knowledge continues.”


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