in picking up on your post, substituting 'task', 'challenge' or
'puzzle' for 'problem', still seems to construct the design space as
a site of struggle in some way - which might also seem contrary to
the idea of design as collaboration (or is collaboration also seen as
a site of struggle, challenge, puzzle?).
In thinking through what this might mean while walking my children to
school, I wonder what might happen if we trouble this perhaps
adversarial construction to allow for a 'collection' of words
('working across multiple design sectors') rather than a single
(problematic) term, that provide for descriptions of the design space
as other than problem/task/challenge? Words like synchronic,
serendipitous, synergous, might open a broader space for discussion
about certain phases of the design process that disrupt the binary of
'smooth/problematic' temporal narratives of how it works in design -
I prepare my children's school lunch, wonder what I might cook for
dinner, worry about the (lack of) thesis writing, and think through a
tricky wine label design I have been working on for six months. I go
hear the Dalai Lama speak and lunch with a self-described 'housewife
who sits in the corner' from Warren, who is also the ex-Mayor of
Nyngan, and from a family of fifth generation Merino sheep farmers
who recently switched to wine production and exporting - she
pragmatically suggests a way forward, while I am 'inspired' to
produce an entirely different illustration than the one that remains
problematic for me and the client. What are these sites? Do they
arise from my struggle alone? Do they emerge from synchronous random
events that are not about design and also not about struggle? Or is
this simply another site of struggle? (after all, I did go hear the
Dalai Lama speak). Are they then legitimate sites/spaces for design
work? Can the housewife/ex-mayor be a collaborator in my design work?
Is there space in this collaboration for other (future) work?
Can we conceive of a productive and 'collaborative' space as a coming
together (is this merely unproblematised collaboration?) of
things/ideas/views/perceptions, that produces other things
(ideas/processes/partnerships/products), or from which other things
might emerge, not in a strictly linear, sequential or temporal
manner, but, as Deleuze and Guttarri (1975, previously referenced)
suggest, rhizomic, and/or as Patti Lather (2007) suggests
'polytemporal', in that working on a current issue/job/outcome that
already is, I might also predict that which is yet to come (a line of
flight predicting a future thought/enterprise/process). Am I not
collaborating with myself in a polytemporal space which specifically
focuses on possibilities rather than resolutions? Not sure.
Lather, Patti, 2007, 'Getting Lost', State University of New York Press, Albany
>Hi to All,
>I've been lurking and reading the interesting ideas which
>have been proposed. But apparently the word "problem" causes
>more concern than need be the case. Here are some ideas to
>The Psychology topic of "problem solving" apparently may be
>yielding some unanticipated concerns in conjunction with
>Design. Perhaps a different term might have been a better
>choice, such as "task," "challenge," or even "puzzle." I
>checked a few introductory psychology textbooks I have in my
>office. Although I didn't notice this before, authors talk
>about "problem solving" without sufficiently clarifying that
>a broad meaning is intended (instead of only "negative"
>First, so far as I've known this body of theory and research
>over the past several decades, both "positive"
>and "negative" kinds of challenges are supposed to be
>considered within the "problem solving" literature.
>Second, it is noteworthy that the "problem solving"
>literature especially emphasizes diversity in "solutions."
>Thus the intent is to be open to various approaches instead
>of seeking only or mainly some "correct solution."
>Third, occasionally some authors have proposed a "problem
>solving" approach might be useful in helping us to
>Glenn Snelbecker, Temple University, Philadelphia
>---- Original message ----
>>Date: Tue, 1 Jul 2008 01:28:52 +1000
>>From: teena clerke <[log in to unmask]>
>>Subject: Re: Fwd: Re: Working across multiple design
>sectors (was A simple definition of 'Design'?)
>>To: [log in to unmask]
>>Crawling from my bed very very early on this wintry Sydney
>>follow this 'line of flight' (Deleuze and Guattari 1975).
>>What might happen if I conceptualise design spaces not as
>>spaces, and thus design outcomes NOT as evidence of having
>>problems - how else might they be seen? In the process of
>>as is often the case, other possibilities emerge but are
>>being 'not right' by particular stakeholders (but not me?).
>>these other design possibilities? Might my portfolio
>>represent in my memory the lost possibilities of each job?
>>stories for every job represented as an outcome in my
>>the 'one that got away', the 'great idea' the client did
>not go for,
>>or those that couldn't be 'resolved'. Does this not
>>problem for design spaces conceptualised as
>problem 'solving'? In
>>this space, are there only solid, concrete, stable,
>>winners as represented in the portfolio? And if so, what
>>the other possibilities? Do they remain, problematic,
> >our stories? Do they emerge perhaps in other jobs? What if
>>conceptualise the design space as one of possibility? How
>>we speak of our work?
>>Deleuze, G. and Guattari, F., 1975, from 'A thousand
>>Capitalism and Schizophrenia', from 'Introduction:
>Rhizome', cited in
>>Norton's Anthology, p. 1595 (sorry, don't the have full
>>>Teena et al,
>>>Re: your first paragraph.
>>>I don't know about Gavin, but I think your description
>>>beautifully with how I see designing - including
>>>Now please have mercy as I'm about to use words in ways to
>>>some may be unaccustomed, but it's the words that work
>best for me &
>>>Designing usually (in my experience, always) begins with
>>>stage. The designer, confronted with a new situation, is
>>>to "fit" into it / understand it very well. The designer
>>>try to figure out what the "real problem" is - what's
>>>the way things are. This requires a rather deep
>>>Teena, this is where your brainstorm, etc, happens. My
>>>is that the problem is there, you just don't recognize it
>>>because (and I'm guessing here) "problems" exist in "more
>>>design" settings. Your "problem", generally, is finding
>>>image/visualization to communicate certain emotions &
>other info to
>>>specific individuals or groups.
>>>The study of the situation your in - aka the problem you
>>>solve - will map key features/points/aspects to certain
>>>memories/emotions/capabilities you have stored in your
>brain. To do
>>>this you have to take the situation/problem
>>>is perhaps too overloaded a word. That is, you're
>>>situation (perhaps inspirationally - whatever works best
>>>and connecting the dots in your head.
>>>Put another way, you're finding a way to overlap your
>>>the actual situation onto your own mental structures and,
>>>Then you start coming up with something that will change
>>>situation in a beneficial/desirable/required way. Some
>>>this designing, but it can't happen except in the most
>>>without first understanding the current situation (the
>>>I think of designing as including both the analytic and
>>>the next word, no offence intended again) synthetic.
>>>At least, that's how I see it.
>>>Re: your second paragraph
>>>I'd say the temporal ordering of tasks will vary from
>>>situation. But the tasks themselves will be there sooner
>>>and that there will be many similar situations that will
>end up with
>>>task orderings that are very similar too, and that might
>>>permanent features by those who are often involved in
>>>teena clerke wrote:
>>>>I am mindful that there are also spaces in which design
>>>>that are not seen as being problem-based, so articulating
>>>>space as 'problem' space may be misleading and also
>>>>Suffice to say that in my experience, design can occur as
>a way of
>>>>thinking, practicing, experimenting, researching (before
>>>>the drawing implement, I always list, brainstorm, play
>>>>and then doing/making/visualising, etc, without there
>>>>'problem' as such. In fact, many of my designs, and
>>>>illustrations are conceived and then executed this way.
>>>>design? Is it practiced within a 'problem' space? Can
>>>>be articulated as occurring within 'inspirational' space
>>>>there ever being a problematic? I suggest so, but suspect
>>>>the realms where more corporate design resides.
>>>>Further, in my experience, the way you have worded the
>>>>suggests that design is linear, and we can also 'suspend
>>>>to draw', when in fact, drawing, mark making, and so on
>>>>much a part of the 'thinking', 'researching'
>>>>activities - a bit chicken and egg really. They don't
>seem to have
>>>>formal stops and starts, and are not easily articulated
>as a linear
>>>>process, or even a circular sequential process, nor do
>>>>in isolation or explicitly in teams (in fact,
>>>>most often occur just when you crawl into bed at night -
>>>>categorise that!). Very tricky process this, attempting
>>>>commonalities without also excluding. But still, in my
>>>>And might I suggest that it might also be useful to
>>>>question empirically with your design students and
>>>>beyond the 'research space' of this list and beyond
>>>>space' of the university. These questions are really
>>>>particularly at this 'defining' time in the disciplinary
>>>>development of design, and ones that might be illuminated
>>>>speaking with practitioners who might thus provide
>>>>these very interesting ideas that blow the 'problem'
>>>>so, I ended up with a long response. hope you find it
>>>Filippo A. Salustri, Ph.D., P.Eng.
>>>Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
>>>350 Victoria St, Toronto, ON, M5B 2K3, Canada
>>>Tel: 416/979-5000 ext 7749
>>>Email: [log in to unmask]
>Glenn E. Snelbecker, Ph.D., Professor, Temple University