Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problems

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Keon Pettiway (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site: http://www.ecu.edu/lib/
Gunnar Swanson

Abstract: Richard Buchanan co-editor of Design Issues the international journal of design history theory and criticism argued that designers possess skills that are useful to "discover new relationships among signs things actions and thoughts." Like Buchanan Alastair Fuad-Luke author of Design Activism purported that "design's ability to operate through `things' and `systems' makes it particularly suitable for dealing with contemporary societal economic and environmental issues " such as the design innovation firm IDEO. Designers' abilities to use visualization divergent and convergent thinking problem-solving activities and user engagement research methods can certainly help provide a broad perspective of the ails of social problems. Although design professions must reevaluate how its methods tools and ideas may not be broadly applicable for complex social problems since the "scale of the challenge will move us beyond our training." In particular Meredith Davis noted that graphic design training fundamentally "views complexity as a problem to be overcome through reductivist artifacts not as an inevitable and pervasive attribute of life in the post-industrial community." As a remedy institutions are beginning to offer graduate education to equip students with the means to address social problems with design. However graphic design generally lacks well-defined scalable methodology to examine and respond to complex social problems in specific domains such as government and health. My thesis investigates the role of graphic design in the government public sector to deal with varying complexities of social problems. In particular my research question focuses on  WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGN METHODS ARE USEFUL TO IMPROVE PUBLIC HEALTH SERVICES FOR THE HOMELESS IN PITT COUNTY N.C.? My investigation demonstrates that there is no single design methodology to address all levels of complexity of a social problem. Moreover being able to recognize opportunities for incremental design interventions may be paramount to systematically solving a social problem. Over a six-month period the project shifted through three different phases aimed at addressing homelessness by responding to situations as they emerged rather than a pre-planned course of action: * Phase 1) Service design: Redesigning the Greenville Community Shelter Health Clinic service experience * Phase 2) Human-centered design and visual mapping: Engaging community leaders to visually map the complexity of homeless public policy and collaboration amongst constituents citizens community organizations and service providers * Phase 3) Responsive practice: Devising incremental resolutions for issues of social inclusion and information access 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Social research, design methodology, graphic design, service design, social change
Communication in public health--North Carolina--Pitt County
Graphic design (Typography)--North Carolina--Pitt County
Homeless persons--North Carolina--Pitt County

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TitleLocation & LinkType of Relationship
Utilizing Multiple Design Methods to Resolve Social Problemshttp://hdl.handle.net/10342/4000The described resource references, cites, or otherwise points to the related resource.