Thanks to the help and inspiration of Malin Orebäck, my advisor here at Ergonomidesign, I think I made a few steps forward today. Recently I have been sketching and jotting down ideas, but without much of a system or a clear aim in mind. Arriving this morning, I found a few books on my desk that Malin brought in from her time as an MBA student. Most importantly for me was a book with some helpful hints on identifying a research topic. I am still a ways off from finalizing my topic, but I found some guidance in clarifying my thoughts and understanding the direction I am heading.
Here is an image of what I came up with today. I have identified three main areas that I have been thinking that are related to design methods: Organizations + Design Methods, Non-designers + Design Methods, and Designers + Design methods. Right now they are presented in order of my interest level, but there may be overlap among them. A lot of questions still remain about my usage of terminology, but at least I have some order now to my thoughts. I wrote a little bit yesterday about my emerging interest in organizations and how organizations might integrate design methods into their structure. After making my topic chart, I spent some illustrating my conception of a system based around design, but I will refine and post it tomorrow.
My primary idea is that design activity involves reflection (which I should learn more about as I read Schön, and pragmatism in general), and that if there could be a specific location embedded within an organization that enables actors in the organization (or system) to externalize, analyze, and synthesize information (the design process) about the organization, then there would be a public model of what that organization is. The public model of the organization can be a guide for how people interact in the organization as well as for the development/progress of the organization.
I do have some ideas how this could be studied at a small scale, but that is on the agenda for tomorrow as well!