31 May 2013

An overview of design models

Our experience has taught us that ad hoc design efforts within the enterprise environment are often doomed to fail. Success in planning and implementing design-based change requires a structured, repeatable and process-based approach. Design models and methodologies provide just this.

As enterprise design disciplines mature, research and project experience help establish tried-and-tested ways to carry out and document design activities.

Some of these models are well-known and widely established, whereas others are newer, or more nichely-applied.

Following a comprehensive review, Joanne Mendel of Dubberly Design Office has put together a collection of design models, and proposed a taxonomy into which they fit. The taxonomy itself resembles the typical approach of many design projects, with recognizable phases: “Discover”, “Reframe”, “Envision” and “Create”.

Within each phase, Mendel presents a selection of models that play a role, and briefly describes them. For example, the “Reframe” phase is where “… models are used to cut, map, and present information in ways that reveal new salience, relationships, and meanings, which might otherwise remain hidden in data. Opportunity areas are revealed. This provides the focus for envisioning potential solutions.” Models listed here include: Ecosystems, Trends maps, Attitudinal models, Behavioral models, Process models, and Comparison frameworks.

While the post itself misses the opportunity to link to examples of these models (only the Editor’s Note and some references beneath the post give advice for further reading), an ongoing Pinterest collection from Len Netti makes the perfect accompaniment. With more than 500 pinned items, his “Design Thinking, Service Design and Innovation Frameworks, Methodologies and Artifacts” offers a fascinating trawl through different visualizations of the models mentioned in Mendel’s post, alongside many other related tools and deliverables.

Source: “A taxonomy of models used in the design process” (Joanne Mendel, Dubberly Design Office)

Design thinking (15), Methodologies (11), Service design (41), User-centered design (12)