Sep 1, 2010 2:33:20 PM - Jari Koskinen
We are currently conducting research interviews that analyse the evolution of expertise in design and related fields. The interviews, done in the framework of the ServiceD project, also enable us to anticipate the short-term development paths and future competence requirements of the field.
Halfway through the interviews, I find that they have greatly enriched my thinking. For example, my meeting with service designer Markku Nurminen was very interesting. Describing how he understands concept design, Nurminen stated that the most important starting point in concept design is to contemplate and consider, in cooperation with the client, what the right questions are, i.e. is the problem the client is dealing with relevant in any way.
Nurminen gave a rather clear example: As a part of the development work on a service process, client asks the design team: “What sort of a bridge should we build across the river to reach our planned factory?” Now what is the actual problem that needs to be solved? How to cross the river? If that is the case, a tunnel would do just as well. Could the factory be built somewhere else than on the ‘other’ side of the river? What is the factory needed for? What sort of an evolution of the client’s product and service repertoire are expected – and how is the client’s expertise and competences developing? Surprisingly often the problems clients seek help with from a design agency are based on wrong questions. The core of concept design is, in fact, a search for the right questions.
Searching for the right questions is not limited to design. Developing expertise or education in any given field sets great importance to finding the right questions.
Developing expertise related to concept design equals developing ways of thinking. Personally I find that the most important factors that have developed my own thinking have been my studies in philosophy and aesthetics and the related many-sided discussions. Perhaps the most important thing in my educational background is that I have learned how to question things and theses.
Three abilities form the key perspectives in design education and expertise development; the abilities to ask the right questions, to question existing solutions, and to manage many-sided or transdisciplinary issues comprehensively. Service design is immaterial by nature, and therefore it should revolve around enhancing, deepening, and developing thinking and ways of thought.
asking the right questions, concept design, service design, immaterial, transdisciplinary, design education, expertise develompent