To summarise a few of the points I’ve made above, some of the common mistakes I see are:
I often hear colleagues, in the midst of needing a design or business decision, ask “what does the data tell us to do?” The real answer: not much.
Systems thinking isn’t new—though it may be unfamiliar to many designers. It’s a mode of analysis that’s been around for decades. But it has newfound relevance for today’s everything-is-networked, Big Data world. Systems thinking is a mind-set—a way of seeing and talking about reality that recognizes the interrelatedness of things. System thinking sees collections of interdependent components as a set of relationships and consequences that are at least as important as the individual components themselves. It emphasizes the emergent properties of the whole that neither arise directly, nor are predictable, from the properties of the parts …
I think the trick is to analyze systems with an eye toward finding leverage points—the second key concept in systems thinking. Rather than attempt to design a wholly new, perfect solution, oftentimes it’s better to find areas where an incremental change will lead to significant renovation in the system. The smallest nudge for the biggest effect.
Interesting piece. I’ve been thinking about this tension more and more over the past couple of years (the thing (where designers usually concentrate effort) & then the system in which the thing exists (generally out of bounds, except for a little bit of market analysis and user context, maybe)), but didn’t have the language around it to think it through in a structured way.
My mum, the oldest of seven kids. I know there’s six in this photo. There was still one to go. And my grandmother, who died when I was one. And who everybody I’ve ever met who knew her said she was one of the kindest souls.
Abductive reasoning is an important part of design thinking, and possibly the most difficult to get ok with.
Whether they realize it or not, designers live in Peirce’s world of abduction; they actively look for new data points, challenge accepted explanations, and infer possible new worlds.