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Designing solutions for communicating science (Scientists are designers too)



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Recording Details

Speaker(s): 
Collection/Series: 
PIRSA Number: 
13060020

Abstract

"A well constructed theory is in some respects undoubtedly an artistic production." - Sir Ernest Rutherford

"Design is the synthesis of form and content."-Paul Rand

On the surface, the scientific method (primarily analytic) and design methodologies (primarily synthetic) seem to be quite different processes but there is considerable overlap and communicating science involves a blend of both. Scientists tend to use a scientific approach when
communicating science but there are benefits to using a designer's approach. Communicating science always requires finding solutions to difficult, ill-defined problems but employing design frameworks can help. 

One such framework is "design thinking", a powerful approach to problem solving that is rarely explicitly used in science or science communication. Design thinking consists of a set of analytic and
synthetic steps, although not a purely linear sequence, involving various modes of thought and processes. Design thinking is user-centered, collaborative, experimental, and has a bias toward action. This colloquium will present a design-thinking framework that can be useful in communicating science and examine how it differs from a typical scientific approach to problem solving.

Although the colloquium will focus primarily on outreach-type communication, we shall also consider applying the framework to writing scientific papers. In the end we'll find that scientists are designers
too, but that reframing the intellectual toolkits on hand can be useful for scientists when  communicating science.