A Learning Platform for Design Thinking


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Dr. Charles Burnette has been a frequent speaker in European design schools and at the European Union’s Cumulus Program on Design Education and is widely published on topics such as design management, design systems, ecological design and design education. He is now writing a book about the design model, its foundations in cognitive science and its application.

The seven principles of Dr. Charles Burnette’s IDeSiGN:

  1. I is for intending
  2. D is for Defining
  3. e is for Exploring
  4. S is for Suggesting
  5. i is for Innovating
  6. G is for Goal getting
  7. N is for kNowing

Related Podcast and Transcription: Design Thinking Course

Dr. Charles Burnette on The iDesign model

You can explain it in as complicated a way as needed, or as simple a way as needed. The first part of the model is intentional thinking. What it is, what’s your goal? What are you concerned about? What do you want to do?

The next part of the model involves referential thinking. What kind of resources? How do you describe them? How do you define them? How do you find them? You really are looking for the things that might help you reach your goal. If your goal is to make something that won’t show stains, then it depends on what the problem is, but it runs all over the place. Stainless steel is a resource for some things, and so forth.

The third part of the model is analogical thinking. It’s associate thinking. It’s centered all the things that brings ideas out as networks and is expressed in networks or linkages between one thing, and another, and that’s called relational thinking in the model.

There are seven parts, and I’ll tell you why in a minute but the fourth one is formative thinking which is how you express your thoughts and how you express your proposals and the conclusions that you think you’ll reach, how you project the word to the audience, how you use the media that are available to you. I mean; language is one medium, but so it television and what have you. You have to represent your ideas for the medium and the audience, of the user that you’re addressing.

Then there is procedural thinking, a kind of time sequence. What do I do next? How can I be a better craftsman? How can I reach a state of flow where I’m doing everything at the best of my ability and being challenged all the time?

After that, there is evaluative thinking, where you’re constantly judging what you’ve done with respect to your intentions and the situation that you’re in. Evaluating what you achieved and going with it that way.

Then the final one, the seventh one is reflective thinking where you commit your prior thoughts to memory, you edit them, or you assimilate them into what you already know. When you come around again to a new situation which always occurs in the formative thought, your perceptions then you use reflective thinking to call on what you know to interpret what you’re experiencing.

That starts the whole process and usually if you want to keep on going with that train of thought once you have interpreted your situation from reflective thought, and nothing is wrong. You understand it because you’re there, and then there’s no real stimulus for intentional thinking because you already have the knowledge that you need.

But if you went into a slight need or desire of any type, then that’ll kick intentional thinking and the process starts going again. I don’t know if I gave you a model of the kinds of thinking, but also a bit of a clue about how they work together or get started and kick one another off.

Related Podcast and Transcription: Design Thinking Course

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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