Design methods are a tremendous way to teach and learn design. They have a structure and form, and you can offer a student both a set of steps to follow and a place to start. There’s a sense to design method that, if you follow the steps, you’ll arrive at an ending, and so there’s implicit trust placed in the method: it will lead me to finality, to a solution. And that’s factually accurate, because it will lead you to a solution. An experience of action is critical in design for building a foundation of skill, for self-reflection, and most importantly, for critique. You have to design something, and then reflect on the process of design, in order to learn how to design. A method forces this to occur. [...]
But a design method won’t lead you to a good solution, because a design method has no natural relationship to the content of the problem. There’s no presumption of quality in the method, as each method is simply a series of artificial constraints that are introduced into a particular design context in order to help frame it. Personas, flow diagrams, ecosystem diagrams, 2x2s: these are ways of structuring problems and solutions. They don’t speak of the particulars.
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