I am not inclined to do a search of the number of times I have written about the idea of the ‘design turn’. It is now over 7 years since I first encountered the term in Ray Ison’s book ‘Systems Practice’. The book is even in a second edition now and still I ‘re-learn’ about my understanding of design turn when I am prompted to reflect on it.
The latest insight has come not from considering the phrase ‘design turn’ as a whole but making a connection with another context where the word ‘turn’ is used.
My blog doesn’t get a massive number of visitors, but in the last couple of days I’ve noticed an increase in hits on some of my oldest blogs – the first ones I did as I studiously studied Tu812 Managing systemic change. Today’s busiest post – Taking a design turn in my systems practice – was written on 16 January 2011. That means that at this time in 2010 going into 2011 I was just grappling with the idea of the design turn for the first time. It was ‘that winter’, the one with really really heavy snow. I remember gazing out the window as slabs of snow slid down from the roof, enjoying the distraction from reading about the juggling balls and design turns.
I have just packaged up the third iteration of all the materials for research ethics – subject to final supervisor ‘tweaks’ they are done (hooray). This means that the research proposal I first attempted last july and amended and re-drafted ever since is now ‘done’. But I didn’t want to move on without posting some reflections on writing an action research proposal.
okay the doctorate has started! I’ve had the introductory ‘summer academy’ and now have the follow on assignment. I understand that this is in part to help us try out and hone in on the ‘academic style of writing’ but also to put some of the things we covered at the academy into practice – literature reviews, research questions, quantitative research, qualitative research, systematic literature reviews were all covered in relatively short one hour lectures. This research proposal is for hypothetical research – not the ‘real’ one we will end up doing, so the point is to learn how to write research proposals.
But although we were set the task of ‘write a research proposal’ and I understand how all these things are parts of it – I came away with a few burning questions – what is a research proposal for? what is its purpose? what does a successful one look like?
A conversation on my LinkedIn STiP alumni group has sparked me to think once again about the concept of a ‘design turn in my systems practice’.
It’s been a while so let’s recap.
In my last post, I touched on my emerging interest in the concept of design and touched back on the notion of the design turn that I covered in TU812 Managing systemic change. Since then I’ve been mulling this over and still have a number of browser tabs open in relation to the short diversionary inquiry I took into ‘design’. Continue reading
I’ve got a feeling that this is going to be quite a long post because I have spent the last two weeks grappling in my head with something that concerns me.
I’ve never been one for Programmes and Projects – with capital ‘P’s – with all the trappings of templates and documentation and traffic light reports but recently I’ve found myself yearning for more structure and more shape to what I am doing. I’ve started to wonder if – in my wholesale rejection of Project methodologies, I have thrown the baby out with the bathwater.
True it has been a bit of a extra messy time with particular big fluxes of events and issues over time. Lots and lots of uncertainty – maybe the woolliness is getting to the point when I am lost – and if I’m lost then others around me probably are too. I have started taking action at work to change this but I do want to explore – if not a Project, then what? Continue reading
Updated 15 February 2011
Ison (2010, 260-262) describes the concept of a ‘design turn’. I am finding it one of the more difficult concepts to get a handle on so I will use this post to explore my understanding of the concept and apply it to my systems practice.
Before I do, I want to quote what is – to date – my biggest and most significant insight from studying TU812. Of course, I kind of knew it before but having it pointed out made me realise its significance:
The direct consequence of the profound changes in the character and role of organised knowledge is that the future most now be regarded as increasingly a human artefact – an art-in-fact. The future can no longer be regarded as a natural object, a fact already there or objectively determined by present trends. It must be chosen.
Hooker (1992) cited in Ison (2010, 261)
So this is why design is important. It is part of the way we choose the future. Every design will create ripples that becomes its legacy or artefact. So what is design?