Nigel Cross "Designerly Ways of Knowing: Understanding How Designers Think and Work"

KMDI Distinguished Lecture: Nigel Cross ‘Designerly Ways of Knowing: Understanding how Designers Think and Work’

Date: Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Time: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
Place: 40 St. George St. Bahen Centre for Information Technology Room 1220 (1st floor)

Abstract: Design ability is often thought to be a mysterious ‘gift’. But, through a variety of research methods, design researchers are gradually building a deeper understanding of ‘designerly’ ways of knowing and thinking. I will begin with some quotations from expert, outstanding designers, to illustrate the kinds of ‘mysterious’ things that they say when they are interviewed about their work, and I will relate what they say to the more generalised insights about the nature of design thinking that researchers have begun to compile. I will also present findings from a selection of my own studies of expert and outstanding designers related to understanding the nature of creative cognition in design. In conclusion, I will suggest how expertise in design is different from expertise in normal problem-solving.

Brief bio: With backgrounds in architecture and industrial design, Nigel Cross has conducted research in design since the nineteen-sixties, ranging across computer-aided design, design methodology, design epistemology and design cognition. A focus of his research has been to build recognition for, and better understanding of designerly ways of knowing and thinking. This work has been published in many journal articles, and in his books Analysing Design Activity (co-edited with Christiaans and Dorst; Wiley, 1996) and Designerly Ways of Knowing (Springer, 2006; paperback edition by Birkhäuser, 2007). Professor Cross is a long-time member of the academic staff of the UK’s pioneering, multi-media Open University, where he has been involved in a wide range of distance-education courses in design and technology.


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