My Frustration with Design Research March 31, 2011Posted by @Karen_Fu in change, creativity, Innovation, Product Design, research.
Tags: change, Design methodologies, design thinking, research
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I have been reading design research posts to the point I am getting bogged down. I do not oppose research, else I wouldn’t be on the list and join the Design Research Society. I am a staunch believer of methodology, simply because without a sound and effective method of thinking, I cannot get my answers to existing problems.
People have several definitions to research. Design to many people means different things. Design to me is a specific term to a profession that looks into planning of given factors to form a solution. You could jolly call that Strategy, Plan, Architecture,Engineering etc. It basically means the same thing — systems orgainising and execution to form an finalised solution. It could be a policy, it could be a 2 dimensional product or it could be solid 3D form. It’s just that the dimension of the components are different. Different people are playing given factors to a problem differently. Hence the various sayings and arguements. At least that’s how I see it.
I usually do not take on to one theory that seriously. But I do view them as opinions mainly because different cultures sort problems differently. And I value and respect that seriously. They need to do so because that’s their way of living, seeing things in their own individual perspectives. People love to mention Rittel. Then they would also skew in Tim Brown, then John Chris Jones…or someone who can be recently become controversial as Don Norman ; and before you know it, people will start to debate about who failed to understand what and where it went wrong. Honestly, I don’t see that as important as to go down to earth and see the nature of the changing climate. What is crucial and neck cutting is to understand the different sets of problems. An effective design research is one that fully understands the nature of the problem. Once you’ve understood it, it applies to all different kinds of problems. That makes you a whole rounded poblem solver. Hence, to me, someone who cannot sort out social problems cannot be a true problem solver for a product which is going to be used by people. Products, in my eyes, are to be used by a living being. If we fail to understand the living interaction between a living being and the product, there is no point of desigining, and nevermind the innovation. People may dispute this, but I personally find it a good tool to coming up with ideas to solve problems quickly. We can fly to the edges of the universe, but we must always come back to the concept that we must solve problems permanently and not skirting around it in different fashions.
I often wonder when we can get out of the tangle. Perhaps taking the words out and place in pictures could solve part of the problem. Dan Roam and many others offer some cues to visual thinking. Or at some point, take away all the books and make people really brainstorm for a new way of seeing solutions. Then you will understand why I don’t appear to read too much into those books anymore. Not that I don’t respect them, but I won’t drool over them to the point of hanging there for ages. It sometimes gets you addicted, which is not that healthy for design research. To be able to do research, you must be free spirtited, sharp and quick to act on the materials given. Time is important and hence the aptness of mind to sort problems out outweighs stepping over the same areas again.– Karen Fu
Design for the New Climate March 29, 2011Posted by @Karen_Fu in climate change, design, environment.
Tags: Blackburn report, cities, climate change, Design Ideas, Fukushima, John O Blackburn, Nuclear Energy Concerns
Recently, I saw The Ideas Economy’s website and posted 2 ideas that I thought it would be useful. One was to design modular mobile smart housing that acts as a self sustainable unit; and the other a kind of ‘lead net’ that covers the entire nuclear plant in several layers before it actually explodes.
It just came to me after reading and following up the number of natural and man-made disasters that seems to erupt in a short span of 3 years. Regardless if the Mayans had been right about 2012, we have to prepare for a definite real climate that is today and the near future.Highly populated areas, usually in cities, do not have much open space for escape. As such, I am thinking of the many possibilities of designing the units and the ‘safety net’.
Climate change does not confine to the natural environment, about melting ice caps and the rise of sea levels. We are now facing another impending problem that is more instaneous and dire: terrorism. While we can add in rows of CCTVs, sending police and guard dogs to patrol at stations, airports, and sub stations; we must first eliminate any possible attack inland. For that reason alone, nuclear plants, oil rigs in danger points should be seriously considered for a permanent removal.The energy that we should use must be some form that we can contain in a much higher possibility. With the recent Fukushima Nuclear accident, signs are begining to show that the spread of radioactive pollution is going world wide. I think that is itself an expensive lesson to take and we have yet to see the full impact of the disaster.
I particularly liked the idea of solar energy. Many may not for the actual costs of producing them as compared to nuclear energy. But recently I have accidentally stumbled upon a paper by the late John O Blackburn, who wrote ‘The Historic Crossover:Solar Energy is Now the Better Buy’.(see reference below)
I really wouldn’t want to try nuclear in the long term given the change of climates now where there appears to be a rise in the number of
earthquakes.Naturally people may doubt about statistics. Despite the nature of hard core research stats, we live under the sky to know what is really happening. Sometimes, a better trust is within us. Within me, myself, I do not believe that nuclear is the solution. It has never been. With the Fukushima Nuclear incident, I am more than adament to vote against nuclear energy. You know how the Japanese work. They are very merticulous and responsible people. If this could happen, I think its serious enough to make a resolution. — Karen Fu, adapted from my own post to PhD forum.
(A) The late John O. Blackburn, Duke University’s Professor Emeritus of
Economics and former Chancellor,
Solar and Nuclear Costs—The Historic Crossover: Solar Energy is Now
the Better Buy’ http://www.azocleantech.com/details.asp?newsID=11407
Obituary of Dr John Blackburn, which reflects his personality:
Prof Blackburn’s paper:
(B) Nuclear waste recycling problems:
(C) Nuclear reactors in quake zones: http://tinyurl.com/4kxux8u