Design for Living Complexities

A Collaborative Exploration (CE) in which participants develop a design sketch that addresses one of the cases in a 3-week MOOC that explores critical thinking about design in a range of areas of life and its complexities.


Design is about intentionality in construction, which involves a range of materials, a sequence of steps, and principles that inform the choice of material and the steps. Design always involves putting people as well as materials into place, which may happen by working with the known properties of the people and materials, trying out new arrangements, or working around their constraints (at least temporarily). Critical thinking involves understanding ideas and practices better when we examine them in relation to alternatives. In a sense, critical thinking is in design from the start, because design cannot proceed without the idea that there are alternatives to the current way of doing things.

A 3-week MOOC, with live sessions MTuWTh 5-6pm US EDT from July 14 to July 31, exposes and explores alternative designs through
Each MOOC session takes up an issue about design, introduced in the live presentation (drawing on videos available online) and followed by a case related to that issue. MOOC participants are encouraged to develop and share design sketches to address any or all of the cases. With each design sketch, participants add to or revise a growing set of principles for critical thinking in design.

Each participant in the Collaborative Exploration (CE) -- in contrast to in the MOOC -- has a chance to focus on a single sketch for 4 weeks building on the support and interaction of other CE participants focusing on their sketches.