Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problems
Richard Buchanan, co-editor of Design Issues, the international journal of design history, theory, and criticism, argued that designers possess skills that are useful to "discover new relationships among signs, things, actions, and thoughts." Like Buchanan, Alastair Fuad-Luke, author of Design Activism, purported that "design's ability to operate through `things' and `systems' makes it particularly suitable for dealing with contemporary societal, economic, and environmental issues," such as the design innovation firm IDEO. Designers' abilities to use visualization, divergent and convergent thinking, problem-solving activities, and user engagement research methods can certainly help provide a broad perspective of the ails of social problems. Although, design professions must reevaluate how its methods, tools, and ideas may not be broadly applicable for complex social problems since the "scale of the challenge will move us beyond our training." In particular, Meredith Davis noted that graphic design training fundamentally "views complexity as a problem to be overcome through reductivist artifacts, not as an inevitable and pervasive attribute of life in the post-industrial community." As a remedy, institutions are beginning to offer graduate education to equip students with the means to address social problems with design. However, graphic design generally lacks well-defined, scalable methodology to examine and respond to complex social problems in specific domains, such as government and health. My thesis investigates the role of graphic design in the government public sector to deal with varying complexities of social problems. In particular, my research question focuses on, WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGN METHODS ARE USEFUL TO IMPROVE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES FOR THE HOMELESS IN PITT COUNTY, N.C.? My investigation demonstrates that there is no single design methodology to address all levels of complexity of a social problem. Moreover, being able to recognize opportunities for incremental design interventions may be paramount to systematically solving a social problem. Over a six-month period, the project shifted through three different phases aimed at addressing homelessness by responding to situations as they emerged rather than a pre-planned course of action: * Phase 1) Service design: Redesigning the Greenville Community Shelter Health Clinic service experience * Phase 2) Human-centered design and visual mapping: Engaging community leaders to visually map the complexity of homeless public policy and collaboration amongst constituents, citizens, community organizations, and service providers * Phase 3) Responsive practice: Devising incremental resolutions for issues of social inclusion and information access
Pettiway, Keon. (January 2012). Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problems (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4000.)
Pettiway, Keon. Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problems. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, January 2012. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/4000. February 18, 2019.
Pettiway, Keon, “Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problems” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, January 2012).
Pettiway, Keon. Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problems [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; January 2012.
East Carolina University