Singapore Institute of Technology
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The Art of Asking Questions: Adopting Critical-Design Thinking in the Digitalisation of Solutions

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conference contribution
posted on 2022-08-15, 13:03 authored by Nadya Shaznay PatelNadya Shaznay Patel, Shan Chian TeoShan Chian Teo


The problems we increasingly face require a radically different form of thinking - one that would rigorously question ideas and assumptions. The new world facing us demands skillful thinkers to come up with new ways of living and new solutions to world’s greatest problems. Of late, these include utilizing a design innovation approach, which arguably cannot take place in the absence of critical thinking. It is thus crucial to integrate critical and design thinking when innovating for solutions. After all, it is bad design if every and any digital tool is assumed to be capable of meaningfully resolving real world, often multifaceted problems. Adopting a critical-design thinking conceptual model, this interactive 1.5-hour workshop engages participants with short activities to understand key challenges of food security in Singapore. Participants are introduced to critical-design thinking tools through which the facilitators model the asking of good questions. At the end of the workshop, participants gain insights from a discussion of case studies that leverage on digital solutions to enhance the resilience of Singapore’s food supply.

Criticality is in built within the design education and as such, criticality is intuitive for designers. Also, design thinking has been touted as an inclusive tool for non-designers. However, on its own, it can be problematic without an explicit framework for criticality. The intentional integration of critical-design thinking in our adopted framework allows for an explicit application of a structure. This effectively guides the convergent and divergent thinking in the design innovation approach. Thus, demystifying the process of truly uncovering and understanding issues, and creating innovative solutions. When good questions are asked, we will get to reframe the way problems are viewed and consequently solved. It is with the use of critical questions that we get to evaluate and achieve the best of our thinking. Hence, the workshop aims to bring awareness to participants the importance of understanding the relationship between critical thinking and design thinking in the design innovation approach. It highlights the need for us to achieve creative confidence and critical competence when ideating for solutions to solve real world problems.


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SkillsFuture Festival @ SUTD: Design for Future Economy

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