Week Five: Lecture – Analysis and Further Considerations

LECTURE: Thoughts on ideas – Susanna Edwards
This weeks lecture proved very interesting and opened up a variety of potential topics to look into. Again, to try make my blog less irrelevant text and more efficient discussion, I wanted to focus on certain elements to look a bit further into. Each thinking model debated contrasts with one another, but I want to see whether I can find a link between my own practice and the model or aspect discussed and how I can link it to creative thinking.

The first topic discussed was in regards to the design process and how it didn’t begin to get taken seriously until the Bauhaus school and the theories they looked into.

From an educational perspective, the Bauhaus curriculum seems very much in an adaptive use today and potentially could be developed to become even more relevant to the current UK education system. In regards to the expansion of skills throughout the time frame, the education system still very much works like this in the UK, especially within the creative industries, for example, how the academic years are broke up with skills sets in BA Hons programmes:


The diagram also works similar to the ‘Foundation’ university course framework, before moving onto a full BA Hons course, in that you have the 1 year ‘preliminary’, before moving on to 3 years of in depth study.

But what I find more interesting is that ‘the expressionist period of the Bauhaus came to an end. Henceforth, students were not to be encouraged toward the extremes of personal vision and idiosyncrasy. Rather, they were to be indoctrinated in a more universalist set of ideas and practices.’ (Artists Network, 2014). In a similar situation graphic designers currently are undergoing the exception to have a wider discipline and a more ‘universal approach’, as discussed in previous weeks when considering categorisation. Should the upcoming creatives have a more universal approach or a personal vision? Why not both? Could the Bauhaus curriculum diagram be worked into creative educational practice to create personal ILPs or more skill focused curriculums? I think so.

Throughout the Design Council’s ‘Eleven Lessons Desk Research Report’, there are many design methods showcased, but the one that felt most relatable was the double diamond process. It portrays a clear adaption from the initial formalisation of the design process in the 1960’s of analysis, synthesis and evaluation. Consistently throughout the report it refers to the scientific aspect of the design process, however as Susanna states because of our world changing so much it has become less based around science and more based around the concept of there may never be an ideal design process, as do the Design Council agree (below screenshot).

I believe that the double diamond model is the closest we will ever get to an ideal design model, as it allows it’s stages to be warped to fit specific briefs, requirements and creatives. It’s a process that I have realised I regularly follow myself, as well as teach my students, just with different wording of ‘research, experiment, develop and finalise’, which I will now be changing to ‘discover, define, develop and deliver‘ to bring my practice more up to date, as well as to a more professional standard.

It makes sense though, with the process being invented in 2005, I started art college in 2010, so the likelihood is this is where it became part of my unknown design process, until now. The ability of this model being able to ‘morph’ and ‘stretch’ I believe it what provides an adaptable, but structured model to base the creative process around.

The six thinking hats is a model I remember from my teacher training, that, I totally forgot about – oops. But glad, I was reminded of it! The first thing I did notice outside of the concept of the model, is that the colour of the hats match a lot of western colour psychology – but that’s probably stating the obvious, but a good technique to remember which hat belongs to which thinking model.

The six thinking hats model creates a more successful understanding and allows individuals through a thorough thought process to look at all different angles, link, clarify and consider thoughts. The effectiveness of this project is showcased in the popularity of use through a variety of disciplines.

Throughout the lecture the discussion is based around the six thinking hat model being used within business terms, more specifically in studios or agency environments. How would we adapt this to fit an individual approach? Could it work? Or even could it be made into a creative model? Currently, the different colour hats would slot into the creative process portrayed by the double diamond model, for example:

Discover – Yellow hat, white hat
Define – Black hat, red hat
Develop – Green hat, blue hat
Deliver – Blue hat….. and so on, many of the coloured hats would over lap into the different sections, but also dependant on the brief, the person and the overall situation.

The six thinking hats model is an overall reasoning technique, allowing different views to be discovered. As designers, this can improve our creative thinking process by providing an open mindedness and ‘a multi-dimensional tool that can dramatically improve the effectiveness and efficiency of how we think and work through problems’. (Sicinski, A. 2019). It changes how we perceive things, I discuss this in more detail here.

The reintroduction of the six thinking hats created an opportunity for me to use it within my own practice within my graphic communication class today when introducing the FMP (final major project). Through using the model when analysing and breaking down the brief. Some quotes from the students, ages 16 – 20 below:

‘I feel like a lot of people fit into a specific hat, like you know who they are when the hat colours are described with the personality’

‘It does make you reconsider how your ideas or message may come across to others, or why it isn’t a good idea. It would be good for when you are struggling to decide on refining ideas’

‘How everyone is today with mental health, the black or red hat seems the most common, this could be a good technique to use in general, like when looking at any situation’

‘Can we get physical hats next time to do this?’

Sicinski, A. (2019). How to Solve Problems Using the Six Thinking Hats Method. [online] IQ Matrix Blog. Available at: https://blog.iqmatrix.com/six-thinking-hats [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

I found the section on Daniel Kahneman – Thinking, fast and slow fascinating, especially with the examples of the image of a woman and the mathematical equitation to showcase the two types of thinking, also know as system 1 and system 2. In comparison to the six thinking hats, it is a lot more complicated thinking system, conversely more scientific based around natural brain occurrences, rather than forced or selected ways of thinking.

Both system 1 and system 2 thinking models are extremely relevant within every day life, but which system is more relevant for creative thinking?

Naturally, I’d argue system 2 is more suitable for creative thinking, it’s a more complex thought process, you ‘actively’ think with this system, it’s considered and well, makes more sense than rushing into a decision, whether it be creative or not. However, ‘the key to both intelligence and creativity is the ability to flexibly switch between different modes of thought depending on the task demands.’ (Kaufman, S. and Singer, J. 2012). It would seem that the two systems work together at some points, a bit like Ian McGilchrist’s discussion about the brain using both hemispheres for reason and imagination (is there a link here, imagination – creativity?). Furthermore, an experimentation found that creative individuals were those that…had an ‘open mind’ to allow the wandering thoughts coming in from System 1 to make creative connections.’ Does this then further link to divergent thinking within creativity, of being open minded in general?

The human mind is certainly an impressive thing, but also one that could be considered to intertwined deeply within each thinking process or model, could it not?

Artists Network. (2014). The Bauhaus School and Its Influence on the Modern Age. [online] Available at: https://www.artistsnetwork.com/art-history/the-bauhaus-effect/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

Designcouncil.org.uk. (2007). Eleven lessons: managing design in eleven global companies. [online] Available at: https://www.designcouncil.org.uk/sites/default/files/asset/document/ElevenLessons_DeskResearchReport_0.pdf [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

Kaufman, S. and Singer, J. (2012). The Creativity of Dual Process “System 1″ Thinking. [online] Scientific American Blog Network. Available at: https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/guest-blog/the-creativity-of-dual-process-system-1-thinking/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

Sambandam, R. (2012). Lessons from Thinking, Fast & Slow – System 1 and System 2. [online] GreenBook. Available at: https://greenbookblog.org/2012/03/15/lessons-from-thinking-fast-slow-system-1-and-system-2/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

Sicinski, A. (2019). How to Solve Problems Using the Six Thinking Hats Method. [online] IQ Matrix Blog. Available at: https://blog.iqmatrix.com/six-thinking-hats [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

Wilshere, A. (2017). Learning in the Bauhaus School: five lessons for today’s designers (and five ways the web still is Bauhaus) | Designlab blog. [online] Trydesignlab.com. Available at: https://trydesignlab.com/blog/bauhaus-school-five-lessons-for-todays-designers/ [Accessed 25 Feb. 2019].

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