In this conversation, which follows on from the previous episode, explores Looby Macnamara’s design web. We dive into the topic of emergent design process, and in particular Looby’s design web approach to designing anything. I was pleasantly surprised to discover in my preparations for this chat that Looby is a co-traveller in the realm of design process innovation, earnestly striving via the design web to get free of traps such as:
- Viewing design process as a linear sequence of steps
- The logical fallacy of having “design” be one of the steps within the whole “design” process
- Having observation as a step as if at some point you stop observing
- Getting too prescriptive about the end state you are heading toward
- Separating planning from action in ways that cripple the possibility of the best outcomes and discoveries
- Getting paralysed by complexity
- Getting stuck in one’s head
- Mechanical (as opposed to biological and ecological) metaphors
Learn more about Looby’s work including books and courses at her Cultural Emergence site here. Also if you’re keen to have Looby support you / us in applying the design web to something in our own lives, make a comment below and if there is enough interest and enthusiasm we’ll make it so!
Here is the design web:
Here is a juicy quote I pulled out from Looby’s latest book Cultural Emergence:
The Design Web is a non-linear process with non-linear outcomes and possibilities. Emergent design reflects the flexibility and unexpectedness of Cultural Emergence. It allows for solutions to emerge that take the design in a new direction. It is organic, responsive, adaptive, fluid, flowing and dynamic. As the design emerges we continue to weave our way between the anchor points. An attitude of emergence enables us to flow and move with what is arising. It recognises that things are not always as they seem, there is more to discover and be revealed. The process is alchemical with surprises along the way.
Looby Macnamara in Cultural Emergence
Designing regenerative cultures is an ongoing process of emergence, not a permanent destination. We are designing for and with living systems that are organic, dynamic and unpredictable. We are setting direction and intentions. It is an invitation for change, rather than being exact or prescriptive.