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Dialectical Model of Designing

A dialectical process involves the development or evolving of an idea or product by a back-and-forth movement between two opposing ideas, forces or models of behavior.

A Dialectical Model of Designing emphasizes the dual importance of hands-on learning combined with the mental activity, and was developed by Dr Richard Kimbell (Goldsmith College). His model, which he called the Interaction of Hand-Mind, depicts the designer as moving back and forth between ideas and concrete actions, both of which support the design's evolution from idea to drawing to prototype to product. Notice in this model that as the work progresses and the object takes on its finished forms that new problems get discovered and then solved. This model looks different from a cyclic model. Would you call it linear? iterative?

What strengths and weaknesses do you see in this representation of the design process? What aspects of designing get left out in this depiction? When would you refer to this model with your students, if at all? How might you demonstrate and depict this view of design thinking to your students?

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