Wicked Problems in Design Thinking

Wicked Problems in Design Thinking by Richard Buchanan

This is a philosophical article on design and where design thinking belongs today. I was introduced to a few ideas and concepts that I had not encountered before. Most of the article is too “ivory tower” for me but I still woke up this morning thinking about it so there might be something here to consider.

“Understanding the difference between a category and a placement is essential if design thinking is to be regarded as more than a series of creative accidents. Categories have fixed meanings that are accepted within the framework of a theory or a philosophy, and serve as the basis for analyzing what already exists. Placements have boundaries to shape and constrain meaning, but are not rigidly fixed and determinate. The boundary of a placement gives a context or orientation to thinking, but the application to a specific situation can generate a new perception of that situation and, hence, a new possibility to be tested. Therefore, placements are sources of new ideas and possibilities when applied to problems in concrete circumstance .”

“This is not thinking directed toward a technological” quick fix” in hardware but toward new integration of signs, things, actions,and environments that address the concrete needs and values of human beings in diverse circumstances.”

Placements VS Categories and signs, things, actions,and environments are new to my categorization of the design world.