Title: Between gut feeling and structured reflective process: the Art of diagnosis

Authors: Sébastien Proulx

Addresses: Department of Design, College of Arts and Sciences, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, 43210, USA

Abstract: The problem definition, the diagnosis, is an essential task of any project that required a creative thought process but which often goes as unnoticed and undescribed. Design methodologies are insightful in many ways, but are still conjectural in regard of the diagnosis part of the design process. This is a major concern for design educators who ought to prepare students to act as enlighten design practitioners. To improve the diagnosis process in the design studio, this paper introduces and discusses the potential of the differential diagnosis method. This clinical medicine method relies on a process of elimination for sorting information, challenging forejudgement, and distinguishing specific problem from others that present similar features and issues. We argue that because this method relies on abductive reasoning and requires designers to make prognostic, through testing and prototyping, it can be relevant and efficient to tackle the challenges related to problem setting.

Keywords: problem identification; abductive reasoning; differential diagnosis; intuition; evidence-based design; design education; problematization; problem setting; design thinking; studio experiment.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2021.10043662

Journal of Design Research, 2021 Vol.19 No.1/2/3, pp.46 - 58

Accepted: 29 Sep 2020
Published online: 19 Feb 2022 *

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