Fenn, Terence

The Firma Model: A Tool for Resolving Complex Societal Problems

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Discipline: 

Design Education Research

As the focus of design broadens to include problem solving located in complex societal systems the emphasis in design education must shift accordingly. Knowledge of and competence in conducting research within the scope of design practice, and using insights gained from research to conceptualise appropriate solutions is a necessity that design students urgently require.  In support of this need, this paper  will  introduce  and  describe  the  Firma  Model,  a  meta-framework  that  spans  the  human- centered design process, which aims to assist the design student and educator in grappling with complex problems.

Wicked ethics in Design

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Discipline: 

Media & Communications Design

Wicked problems are wicked because, amongst other things, understanding problems as existing in society, at the intersection of many possible points of views held by a variety of potential stakeholders introduces indeterminacy. Ethical frameworks in this context may also be multiple and may exist in harmony or dis-harmony alongside each other.

Framing Complexity: an experience-led approach to designing user research

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Discipline: 

Media & Communications Design

Human-Centered Design (HCD) methods have been identified as valuable and effective approaches to designing with and for people, but is also due to complexity and indeterminacy, often difficult to practice. With the popularisation of HCD in contemporary design education, and the subsequent emphasis of human-centered research an ethical question arises as to whether design students are adequately prepared to engage with the type of research that more and more they are expected to conduct.

The Betterness of Braamfontein

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Discipline: 

Graphic Design & Visual Art

In this paper, we argue that the current environmental information system of Braamfontein is problematic as it is ethically unconsidered and overwhelmingly bias towards the interests of commercial  stakeholders  -  over  those  of  the  residents,  workers,  students  and  visitors.  While  a business is justified to act in a conceited manner, we believe that information provided to the public in a public space needs to be more utilitarian, servicing the needs of the majority over those of the few.

Information architecture in design education: developing innovation through structured thinking

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Discipline: 

Media & Communications Design

In this paper, we position information architecture design and the thinking skills required for its practice as a practical application of the theory of cyberdesign.

We further suggest that these thinking skills, while commonly applied to digital domains, transcend the digital because, at the cognitive level, the information architect is dealing, first and foremost with indeterminate problems. We describe how information architecture design involves the process of deconstructing dysfunctional formations (problems) and the characteristics of the design applied in the reformulation of parts into a functional reformulation.

A role for information architecture in design education: indeterminate problems in design thinking

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Discipline: 

Design Education Strategy

When faced with complex problems that are situated in social reality many design students struggle to formulate meaningful and articulate responses to these problems. The cognitive skills required to solve complex problems are often learned only experientially. This paper argues for these latent, yet critical abilities, to be taught explicitly as part of a tertiary design education.

This paper initially reviews the theoretical underpinnings of design thinking with a specific focus on the reciprocal relationship of the design problem and the subsequent solution. A range of the formative cognitive requirements needed to solve complex problems situated in broader society and within disciplinary practice are described in reference to the theoretical framework.

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