Method to the Madness

Game Plan for my Major Project

Artwork by VectorMine

My area of focus for my major project is Healthcare. In that, I wish to explore the field of Geriatrics, how to build up the standard of living for the elderly, illnesses that affect them and their families, and the current state of the care sector in the UK.

Starting with any important project can be intimidating. After all, you don’t know what you don’t know. But at this initial stage I think the important question is:

“How do I know what I don't know?”

The Discovery before “The Discovery”

Selecting the “perfect methodology” (if that even exists) is overwhelming as there is no fixed template or a one-size-fits-all design plan for every project. So before I could come to a conclusion, I asked myself these questions:

Do I understand the different methodologies out there?

How did the different methodologies of my past project affect the outcome?How different would the outcome have been if I used a different methodology?

What kind of impact do I wish to create? Something practical and implementable now or a radical intervention that can be executed in the future?

After some reflection, I decided to use a few different methodologies together to guide my process during my major project.

#Methodology 1:Double Diamond

I will be essentially following the double diamond process of Discover, Define, Develop and Deliver by the British Design Council.

Why this?

The basis of this methodology is the divergent and convergent way of thinking which I find to be an excellent approach to not just designing, but also planning the project timeline.

“..its emphasis on the “divergent” and “convergent thinking”, where first many ideas are created, before refining and narrowing down to the best idea. This is happening twice in this model — once to confirm the problem definition and once to create the solution.”

Having worked with this methodology before, I find it to be extremely logical and flexible as it allows entry during any phase of the design process. The Double Diamond’s biggest strength is how simple yet effective it is in conveying the story of a design journey.

#Methodology 2:Emotional Design

Healthcare is such a complex and systemic problem and can be quite technical and bureaucratic in nature. But anytime I have spoken to people about it I found that it is extremely emotional too. For many people, the services represent hope, trust, expectations, love, sadness, and care. And this is where I believe the use of Emotional Design can help.

I have been familiar with this methodology as a User Experience Designer where interfaces were created to invoke positive associations in people, but have not come across many service design projects that specifically use this.

I have now realised that Service Design is so much about articulation and communication, and this method of storytelling proposed by Don Norman in his book Emotional Design, through Visceral- Behavourial- Reflective loop can help create the desired response.

#Methodology 3:IDEO’s Design Frameworks

IDEO’s framework of Ideation-Inspiration-Implementation and Desirability-Viability-Feasibility is a perfect combination.

One encourages you to think out of the box, test those ideas and be willing to fail early and often. I have recognised something about myself- that I tend to discard many initial ideas labeling them to be too impracticable, and this framework serves as a reminder to take the leap and test it, before rejecting it based on my sole judgment.

The second framework of Desirability-Viability-Feasibility is perfect to bring me back if I stray too much into the world of wacky ideas. This will ensure that the design is human-centered, yet technologically feasible and economically viable.

The benefit of using a combination of all these:

I wish to utilise a combination of these 3 methodologies, as each of them serves a specific purpose to the project, and can be used at different stages. The Double Diamond methodology will be the ongoing framework, that helps me plan and prepare for the project. Emotional Design and the Ideation-Inspiration-Implementation method will help me during the conceptualisation and prototyping phase. Desirability-Viability-Feasibility will ensure that I do not bite off more than I can chew, and maintain relevance to my topic and the industry in this 6-month project.

I will be using these methodologies as a suggested guideline, to help me progress through the project, and at the same time be flexible so that I do not restrict myself.

As Bruce Lee once famously said-

“The more complicated and restricted the method, the less opportunity for expression of one’s original sense of freedom.”

So I am hoping to add a little bit of “me” in these (me)thodologies.

References:

  1. Design Council. n.d. The Double Diamond: A universally accepted depiction of the design process. [online] Available at: <https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/news-opinion/double-diamond-universally-accepted-depiction-design-process> [Accessed 18 May 2021].
  2. IDEO | Design Thinking. n.d. IDEO Design Thinking. [online] Available at: <https://designthinking.ideo.com/> [Accessed 18 May 2021].
  3. The Interaction Design Foundation. 2021. 5 Stages in the Design Thinking Process. [online] Available at: <https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/article/5-stages-in-the-design-thinking-process> [Accessed 18 May 2021].
  4. The Interaction Design Foundation. n.d. What is Emotional Design?. [online] Available at: <https://www.interaction-design.org/literature/topics/emotional-design> [Accessed 18 May 2021].
  5. Norman, D., 2003. Emotional Design.