Abstract

Sensemaking is a constant process of acquisition, reflection, and action. It is an action oriented cycle that people continually and fairly automatically go through in order to integrate experiences into their understanding of the world around them. A frame is an active perspective that both describes and perceptually changes a given situation. A frame is, simplistically, a point of view; often, and particularly in technical situations, this point of view is deemed “irrelevant” or “biasing” because it implicitly references a non-objective way of considering a situation or idea. But a frame – while certainly subjective and often biasing – is of critical use to the designer, as it is something that is shaped over the long-term aggregation of thoughts and experiences, through the above process of sensemaking, and is therefore a larger way of viewing the world and situations that occur in it. Like a point of view, a frame too will change, but will change over the long-term rather than the short term. Designers make explicit the normally implicit processes of sensemaking and framing during design synthesis, as they attempt to make meaning out of data through interpretation and modeling. This paper offers a theoretical reflection on the relationship between design synthesis, sensemaking and framing. This reflection, based on professional practice in a world-class design consultancy, attempts to tie research from various disciplines to what many designers feel is an implicit part of their process – the ability to apply their own “intuitive” ability to find meaning in complex situations and solve complex problems.

Keywords:

Experiential Knowledge, Creativity, Reflective Practices, Design Synthesis, Sensemaking, Framing, Intuition, Perspective

Share

COinS
 
Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Sensemaking and Framing: A Theoretical Reflection on Perspective in Design Synthesis

Sensemaking is a constant process of acquisition, reflection, and action. It is an action oriented cycle that people continually and fairly automatically go through in order to integrate experiences into their understanding of the world around them. A frame is an active perspective that both describes and perceptually changes a given situation. A frame is, simplistically, a point of view; often, and particularly in technical situations, this point of view is deemed “irrelevant” or “biasing” because it implicitly references a non-objective way of considering a situation or idea. But a frame – while certainly subjective and often biasing – is of critical use to the designer, as it is something that is shaped over the long-term aggregation of thoughts and experiences, through the above process of sensemaking, and is therefore a larger way of viewing the world and situations that occur in it. Like a point of view, a frame too will change, but will change over the long-term rather than the short term. Designers make explicit the normally implicit processes of sensemaking and framing during design synthesis, as they attempt to make meaning out of data through interpretation and modeling. This paper offers a theoretical reflection on the relationship between design synthesis, sensemaking and framing. This reflection, based on professional practice in a world-class design consultancy, attempts to tie research from various disciplines to what many designers feel is an implicit part of their process – the ability to apply their own “intuitive” ability to find meaning in complex situations and solve complex problems.

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.