Opening Remarks

  • Introduction

    In our professional career, both as practitioners and academics, we have seen and been involved in hundreds of design projects in diverse disciplines. We needed to understand what was going on, why some decisions have been made. We learned a lot and decided to share some of these lessons.
  • Pattern Language

    'The real power of patterns is not to hand us exotic solutions, but to give us a way to remember the simple, ordinary, basic solutions that we know but forget.'
  • Patterns Catalog

  • Pattern 1: Co-Evolution of Problem-Solution

    A design situation and designer’s understanding of the design situation (problem definition) changes and evolves in parallel and under the influence of design outcome and designer’s understating of potential design outcomes (design solutions).
  • Pattern 2: Puzzle Solving

    A design situation is viewed as a clearly defined and static problem (i.e., a problem that can be clearly stated and where it is known what form the solution should have). A design outcome is seen as a solution for this problem. Design is viewed as a problem-solving activity.
  • Pattern 3: A Solution Looking for a Problem

    Understanding of a design outcome and its possibilities leads to innovative usages of the design outcome in situations and for problems that were not initially envisioned.
  • Pattern 4: Pandora's Box

    The consequences of a design outcome create new situations that are perceived as problematic and may ask for another design to improve it. A design outcome may become more known for the problems it caused than for the solution it provided.
  • Pattern 5: The Force Awakens

    Designer’s efforts to address some situation triggers reactions that radically change the original design situation. Often such reactions make the intended design outcome or a contribution of a designer obsolete or irrelevant. Such responses would typically not occur without the design activity.
  • Pattern 6: Conwayian Laws (Design = You)

    Design resources, as well as the way how working with these resources is organized, are leaving a characteristic signature on a design outcome. It is often possible to guess, from the design outcome, which design resources designers used, and how the working with the resources was organized.
  • Pattern 7: Inverse Conwayian Laws (You = Design)

    Design resources are adapted to a design outcome, sometimes to the point that the form and organization of design resources reflects the intended shape of the outcome.
  • Pattern 8: Design-by-Buzzword

    A designer is joining a growing trend in using some technology, often in an opportunist way. New possibilities of design resources are shaping the design outcome.
  • Pattern 9: Conformity

    To minimize risks in a new design situation, designers use popular and proven resources with established best practices. Such conformity may be driven by positive experiences of others in similar situations, mere popularity of design resources, or mandatory requirements. The usage of a design resource further contributes to establishment and reputation of the resource and its usage in new design situations.
  • Pattern 10: Commitment

    In a new design situation designers use tools they committed to beforehand.
  • Pattern 11: Cherry Picking

    Design situations are selected based on how easily designers can approach these situations with preferred or available resources. Other situations are avoided.
  • Sources of Design Instability

  • Sources of Dynamics Introduction

    Dynamics of design activities are caused and influences by diverse factors. Designers have to make decisions in a limited time based on the imperfect information they have.
  • Source 1: The Moving Target Problem

    Design situations, resources, and outcomes change more rapidly than designers’ understanding of them. Consequently, designers need to work without having significant experience with, and understanding of, design situations, resources, and outcomes. Waiting to obtain more knowledge is risky as the issues may quickly become less relevant or obsolete.
  • Source 2: Increasing Global Interconnectivity

    Design situations, design outcome, and design resources are increasingly more globally interconnected. Increasing interconnectivity means that there are more ways or channels through which a design activity may be influenced.
  • Source 3: Learning and Creativity

    Behaviors and expectations of people are continually changing due to their learning and creativity.
  • Source 4: Tacit Knowledge and Skills

    Designers are relying on tacit knowledge and skills that they do not fully understand and cannot fully explain. Because of its implicit nature, it is hard to predict what effects tacit knowledge will have in design.
  • Source 5: Social Dynamics

    Design situations, resources, and outcomes are complex socio-technical systems, with complex, difficult to predict dynamics.
  • Source 6: Lack of Strong Principles, Theories, and Laws

    Designers are dealing with poorly understood phenomena, for which we do not have strong underlying principles, theories, and laws.
  • Closing Remarks

  • Conclusions

    While design situations, outcomes and resources are themselves complex structures, what makes a design activity additionally and characteristically complex are interactions among these structures.
  • Bibliography

    Links to 115 knowledge resources to probe further.