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Generative design: Towards a shift in creative techniques

The designer’s profile evolves according to his practices and culture. Generative and service design being design-related disciplines, if we integrate two related disciplines into a designer’s practice, what are the possibilities for evolution offered to the designer’s practice ?

The generative system is used for the execution of a program, in the execution of the creative part, creative research or development. If the same process is applied to another part of the designer’s methodology, what are the possibilities for the designer?

The findings of research and project studies show that generative design can only be positioned as a tool. Until now, it has only been used in pure creation, representation and interaction.

If we consider the so-called “double diamond” method, when the problem is defined, the creative process can then begin. It begins with the creation of scenarios. We propose to reconsider this method of creation in order to propose a methodology for generating possible scenarios of use. Thus generative design is seen as a shift in the design methodology chain.

In the experimentation of generative methodology, following the problem, the elaboration of scenarios makes it possible to consider the different possible products and uses. In order to be able to produce as many results as possible and therefore as many possibilities as possible, let us take the generative process as a basis. More precisely, it will be using the ability to cross and calculate quickly. This methodology is collaborative, it must be carried out within a group of at least three people to cross the views and points of view on the project. This methodology is divided into 3 steps:

1/

The first step consists in listing snippets of sentences in order to create logic that can be used later on. First, each person constitutes word clouds, non-exhaustive lists of action verbs, objects and people likely to use the product. Once each participant has completed this exercise, a gathering and crossing exercise is carried out in order to draw up lists. The first listing is 5 action verbs related to the issue. These action verbs are possible answers or leads to the project. They must allow an opening on possible fields of action, research axes. The second listing is to answer the question: WHAT? 5 objects or devices that aim to target the elements to be highlighted, developed, pursued. The last listing is to answer the question: WHO? as for the previous listings, 5 proposals from potential users from the personalities.

2/

Once these 3 listings have been carried out in the form of a participatory and collaborative session, the second step consists in cross-referencing the results obtained. Indeed each verb, object and person will be crossed with the other. On a listing of 5 elements per category, it is therefore possible to obtain 100 crosses and therefore 100 possible scenarios. Here, the scenarios are neither viable, nor feasible, nor can they even answer the problem. The crossing thus makes it possible to generate all the scenarios and not to set them aside. Not all of the 100 scenarios are usable, but some can give surprising results or development leads. These are the niches that can be selected to create an original and innovative product or service.

3/

In order to be able to propose and select viable scenarios, the third and final step is the application of “filters”. Filters are technical, economic, time constraints… All parameters that could be decisive in the development and continuation of the project. These filters purify the results obtained in order to extract the most plausible ones.

This methodology makes it possible to generate as many scenario tracks as possible. Once this method has been applied, the designer selects the tracks to be treated and deepened for the project, and develops more detailed scenarios. If the results are not satisfactory, the group can always change a parameter, verb, object or person, and it will still get a multitude of results. This method provides a speed of execution of crossings and a constant iteration to the project. The surprise, which can emanate from this process, creates areas of doubt in its use and an unknown that would go off the tracks of the first degree, of the first intuition. For each project, the process will be the same but the parameters will change. It is also possible to change the nature of these parameters in order to create a custom tool. Also, more parameters can be crossed, more filters can be applied.

By shifting the generative process through a methodology applied to scenario building, the designer’s positioning is changed. Indeed, he creates parameters so that the computer, the program can deliver as many solutions as possible. This shift in values questions the place of the creator and therefore his legitimacy in the creation by the code.

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