The 6C Model: The Contribution of Design to Open, Complex, Problem Solving

By Silje Alberthe Kamille Friis.

Published by The International Journal of Design in Society

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published Online: August 2, 2016 $US5.00

This article investigates the contribution of design in addressing, investigating, and providing answers to complex, open challenges. Based on a case study in which seventy third semester design students worked for seven weeks on a complex challenge posed by an external organization, design students, teachers, and clients reflect on what abilities the designer must possess in order to be able to promote transformation. The study is informed by the 6C Model, a theory describing the types of knowledge production taking place in design processes, and by the Co-creation Cards, a collection of methods translating knowledge production into practical approaches. Design students from six design disciplines explore a regional challenge posed by the local official tourist organization: The City of Aarhus is the European Capital of Culture 2017—how can the entire region, including nineteen municipalities, some in the fringe areas of Denmark, be included in the yearlong event? Empirical data from the case study includes individual student evaluations, the registration of student processes, and interviews with the students, the teachers of the program, and the clients. Findings indicate that knowledge production in the form of research into existing and future circumstances, looking at the situation from inside and from outside, combined with strong visualization skills are distinctive and invaluable as a driver for transformation processes across disciplines. They also enable the inclusion of stakeholders. In addition, the ability to collaborate, to contain uncertainty, to stay open, and to recognize and switch between dichotomies appears to be pivotal to the quality of the process and the outcome.

Keywords: Design Thinking, Design Education, Practical Theory

The International Journal of Design in Society, Volume 10, Issue 3, December, 2016, pp.13-30. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published Online: August 2, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.140MB)).

Silje Alberthe Kamille Friis

Associate Professor, Cross-disciplinary Division, Design School Kolding, Kolding, Denmark