Different predispositions of design and scientific thinking

Sheng Kai Tang
Computational Design Program, CMU


The important role of design in HCI is providing design thinking to support scientific thinking especially for generating novel ideas in the concept forming stage. However, why couldn’t scientific thinking generate novel ideas by itself and need the assistance of design thinking in HCI research is an interesting issue. In this paper, we conduct two experiments for this problem. We assume representation is a reliable evidence for human thinking. By studying representations, we can understand process of human thinking. We propose a classification table as our coding schemes for analyzing representations. This classification is based on observation of Leonardo da Vinci’s manuscripts and correlation between the former and Buchana’s ideas. Finally, we assure the need of design thinking when dealing with a problem in terms of generating novel ideas. We also prove that those characteristics of design thinking that scientific thinking lacks, such as reframing problems and inventing oriented problem solving, can benefit searching for novelty We finally propose the idea that the type of a problem is not rigid but a predisposition resulted from design or scientific thinking.


Tang, S.K.: 2008, Different predisposition of design and scientific thinking, Final Report for “Design Perspective in HCI” offered by Prof. Jodi Forlizzi.