Models rule: from implicit to explicit (models) and back to implicit (design) | PDD

Models rule: from implicit to explicit (models) and back to implicit (design)


on September 20 2011

PDD‘s first day of The Ethnographic Praxis In Industry Conference (EPIC) kicked off after an afternoon of “reflectivities”. These were activities intended to promote the Ethnographic outlook of the natural surrounding environment of Colorado, USA, where the conference was held.

While not new to some, the opening Keynote was indeed a tribute to modelling – as essential to the Ethnographic process and able to distinguish itself from pure experiential reporting.

Robinson & Cain in 1993 developed a ground breaking model illustrating a process to execute and deliver the practice of Ethnography and how it relates to design. This marked a turning point in the practice of Ethnography. It revolves around the idea of making the implicit explicit, and the associated higher level of abstraction necessary, in order to develop conceptual models and (new) concepts. Moving back down the curve the model shows how Design will in turn embed what’s been learnt, bringing back the explicit to implicit.

Modelling has been discussed in all its facets: modelling as a bridging activity between Ethnographic work and the Design process; modelling where Ethnographic deliverables should start; modelling as communication and representation tools; but above all and foremost modelling as an analytical tool.

Interestingly, Rick Robinson of Robison & Cain (below) introduced the opening Keynote.

More to come very soon, so watch this space!