Dealing with Uncertainty in Design Practice: Issues for Designer-Centered Methodology

DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design, Vol. 9, Human Behavior in Design, Palo Alto, CA, USA, 24.-27.08.2009

Year: 2009
Editor: Norell Bergendahl, M.; Grimheden, M.; Leifer, L.; Skogstad, P.; Lindemann, U.
Author: Daalhuizen, Jaap; Badke-Schaub, Petra; Batill, Stephen Marc
Section: Human Behavior in Design
Page(s): 147-158


Design is at the core of successful innovation. While working on innovation projects designers have to deal with the uncertainty associated with complexity, multi-disciplinarity and outcomes that in the early phases are not - and are not supposed to be - foreseeable. Design methodology aims to support the designer by providing structure and thus reducing uncertainty. However, design methodology often does not provide methodological support that is customized to the individual?s needs and wishes. Furthermore, the social context in which the innovation project takes place is not an explicit issue for many design methods although, especially in project teams, one of the major problems is the development of shared understanding in multidisciplinary communication. In this paper we present the results of a study which addressed the way design practitioners deal with uncertainty in non-routine situations and their strategies for coping with non-routine situations. We define non-routine situations as situations of uncertainty in which the designer does not obviously know how to proceed.

Keywords: designer-centered methodology, design practice, uncertainty, innovation


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