in discussion Hidden / Per page discussions » Why designers should seek chaos and complexity first
You're talking about fractals I think.
You're talking about fractals I think.
Très bel article, merci !
Rechercher des solutions à un problème qui sous-tend de la complexité est une première épreuve.
Une fois plongé dans les profondeurs du chaos, il y a un moment où l'on se demande si l'on arrivera à retranscrire à nos interlocuteurs notre expérience de ce chaos. C'est un second problème.
Transcender la complexité revient davantage à réussir à exposer le chaos qu'à proposer la solution qui permet de l'apprivoiser, de mon point de vue. Lorsque je trouve des solutions "simplifiantes" à des problèmes complexes, mes clients semblent satisfaits. Mais ils n'ont pas participé à tout le parcours homérique (mental le plus souvent) qui permet d'aboutir au résultat. Cela fragilise la solution, parce que tous les nœuds ne sont pas explicitement exposés. Je fais référence à tous les travaux de l'ombre entrepris par exemple dans l'architecture de l'information des écosystèmes digitaux.
On peut baliser le parcours des réflexions avec des miettes de pain comme le petit poucet, pour montrer les directions, mais de là à retracer le chemin…
Votre introduction nuance bien l'état de fait : monde compliqué, besoin de simplicité, peur du complexe.
Dans le "monde de l'entreprise", la complexité est quasi systématiquement balayée d'un revers de main… L'esquisser, c'est passer pour un esprit confus. On en revient alors à devoir utiliser des "modes simplificateurs de connaissance", qui "mutilent plus qu'ils n'expriment les réalités ou les phénomènes dont ils rendent compte" (Edgar Morin, Introduction à la pensée complexe).
L'utilisation omnipotente des schémas PowerPoint en est une bonne illustration…
Comment exposer et partager la complexité ? Voilà une question bien complexe :)
Pour le moment je suis dans le chaos…
Encore merci pour votre article
This week, I collaborated for the first time with new colleagues on a new project. It's a very large project for a financial institution in France, involving marketing, social media, information architecture and design, mobile interfaces, customers services, etc. The size of the project is (almost) overwhelming.
So, a couple of days ago the team decided to work together for a couple hours in order to build for ourselves a better understanding of this multidimensional project. My first thinking was that we needed large paper boards and a series of good thick color pens for this kind of exercise (if you're used to Design Thinking methodology, you know that working on walls is key). But when I got into the meeting rooms, my colleagues (project managers and client director) were all sitting facing their laptops… ;-) !! And their first reflex was very typical of the PowerPoint Thinking : "So, what are the different categories of subjects we will have to manage. Can we first come up with 4 or 5 categories ?" (it's incredible how PPT can damage our fellow workers' brains…;-)
This is exactly what you DON'T want to do : looking for organization first.
I didn't say anything and started to install a series of 4 large paper boards on the wall in order to create a large working area in the room. And then, I started to write down (with large and legible characters) whatever subject came to my mind about this project, and invite my colleagues to do the same. First, they were a bit reluctant but I didn't pay attention to their mood and just continued writing down subjects as it went. They were soon caught in the fun of generating ideas about the project : "and add this, and add that, and what about this one…!". Of course, in about 20 mn we came up with a huge list and everyone agreed on the fact that it was probably 95% exhaustive.
And that's the key, when you work on a list, it HAS TO BE exhaustive, otherwise it loose all its value.
The list was a chaos but it didn't took long to find similarities, groups, differences, so we could see the organization emerging from the chaos. The whole thing took us about 1h30. Simple, hun ?
Not sure I agree that chaos and complexity are fundamentally different nor that "chaos has no order".
Sure, it *seems* like chaos has no order; it's natural to feel that way about it.
But it seems in recent years scientists have been showing that there are hidden patterns in what, on the outside, appear to be chaos.
*ONE* of the definitions of chaos is 'complete disorder'.
However, *ANOTHER* definition of chaos is 'apparent disorder'.
So I guess it depends on which definition is being used.
I suggest the author was referring to the latter.
Wow. This is a very good reading.
I will adapt this method right away in my next design. Can't wait to see how it turned out.
this is a good article.
this is a very good read. thanks for sharing.
Yes, I agree with lrrm. Some great insights here. Appreciate that you took the time to share this creative viewpoint. But chaos is not the same as complexity, so we need to be careful to keep those distinctions clear.
Thank you so much for sharing this.
I have been trying to explain the "T-Shaped Person" for years! People keep asking how a creative person survives the boredom of spending years learning the arcane details of programming, networks and the internet. How can a creative soul survive typography, Ux, "limiting" creative briefs, client demands and media research.
If you want to be single-minded, go be an artist, or musician or a writer allon your own in a garret somewhere. Stay away from practical execution. If you want the world to respect what you do, you need to be "T-Shaped". YO need discipline, and you need to open your mind to other people and ideas.
Merci pour cet article de qualité !
I tend to agree with the last few post.
Great article though and you had me completely captivated until the 2nd paragraph when you got into PowerPoint. As some of the others expressed when dealing with a presentation of any kind there must be balance and order. PPT is just a tool that helps an audience digest little tidbits of information at a time. If we were to try and present in the same manner as we had received the original ideas then it would be utter chaos. A presentation is the culmination of all your ideas condensed down into its simplest form. It needs to be simple, neat and easy to grasp. PPT accomplishes that and that's why it has been so successful for so long.
Well I do agree with you on the linear vs cyclical thinking, the PPT example you used is not the best. Power Point Presentation is a just a means to an end.
For example, when writing the article: Cyclic and Linear Thinking. You must have jotted down some ideas/brainstorm as to what the argument or case is. This brainstorming necessarily should not be linear but random or cyclic (more of chaos).
But because Humans are rational beings, presenting such a chaos of ideas to them may not breed proper appreciation and understanding of the presentation. So you'll have to organize the ideas in a logical manner capable of being understood. And usually this is often done in a linear way(sets of points on slides/pages) to help build idea upon idea and at the end, there's order or rationale. As you rightfully put it in another context your article http://design.activeside.net/why-designers-should-seek-complexity.
Regardless of PPT, your point is well made, Design is a practice, not a process.
basically you're right. but you're mixing up different things. chaos is something that has several definitions. for a mathematician it is something different like for a physitist and something different for a designer. but for all chaos has no order. complexity always has an order, although it's hard to understand. finding the underlying patterns is nothing else than to do your job as a creative. creativity is always a play with systems and modules. if there are not enough modules in a system you can't be creative. so simplicity derives from complexity if you have understood a problem. like steve jobs said. what you're talking about is finding of problem solving strategies, and there are an awfull lot of them.
While I agree that we could say that we are not linear in our thinking, I believe going from that to saying Powepoint is one of the worst contributions is a bit far-fetched in my humble opinion.
Having said that, a lot of times there is a need for linear presentations. While our minds may be shooting ideas in all directions in a clearly NOT linear way, our speech is linear and so we must organize the ideas in such way to communicate them.
Otherwise we would simply spit random concepts and thoughts as they come into our heads and while that might make a lot of sense to us, it would be impossible for our audience to understand it.
I also believe that categorizing one way or another of thinking in terms of inspiring, boring, rigid, fluid has nothing to do with whether the process is linear or not. You could have a boring and uninspired brainstorming session and at the same time have a fluid linear presentation or the other way around, so this association to each thinking model is in my opinion not true.
Still, this article certainly gave me a kick to rethink a few ideas of my own, so I thank you for that.
While I am an adept of iteratiive workflows and Agile methodologies, the arguments you use in your essay are somehow not convincing — for an audience that would need convincing.
You say that everything can be seen as cyclical, but one could posit everything as linear… A story, a movie, a book, or even life itself have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Powerpoint is just a tool, how it is used depends on the speaker.
I guess what I am trying to say is that this is a sophist point of view. One could declare one statement, and its reverse.
I like the way you call "Linear Thinking" and "Cyclic Thinking".
Sometimes we feel a bit confused about our way to manage, think, create, but even when we try, we can not understand exactly what's happening, why we'r thinking in this specific way, because thinking is an ASAP action, its automatic, come directly from some place on our brain that we cant control. So you just think, and a lot of times you even dont know what made you reach to some idea, but you know you is thinking.
In my vision, "giving name" for this concepts is the best way i know to address some question accurately. Otherwise, how could you change your way to think if you even know what is YOUR way?
Recently I made two texts that follow the same path of thought, I would like to share it with you:
Design as the Creation and Manipulation of Models and Ontologies::
Custom Coded Design tools:
Thank you for this inspiring and extremely useful article. Our business has been practicing a lot of the ideas you discussed and we even learned a few more. Your absolutely right that a company is only as good as it treats its clients. We always try to address our flaws and are constantly improving based on the feedback we get from our users. Great article!
Interesting Article. Thank you. The second point about communication is too important in any constructive phase. Overall a nicely done article. :)