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Part 4: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Does The Designer…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

How Does The Designer Construct Shared Understandings?

A key part of the designer’s role is to interact with the various clients in such a way that construction of the relevant knowledge — assumptions, perceptions, expectations and values and desires — results in shared understandings. Not as difficult as all these big academic-type words sound.

The design process should be partly seen as creating a learning environment. The collective goal of this environment is to elicit shared understandings and feed back this information into all the choices involved with the design.

Design requires that works and words connect. As soon as we look at a design — even initially when that design is merely a fuzzy concept — we impose words on it. The words come from many sources. The designer. The critic. The teacher. The client. The buyer. The exhibitor. The seller. The collector. The user. The student. The public. The intents of imposing these words are myriad. Design triggers words. The designer needs to manage them.

Dialog has to happen between the designer and self, the designer and client(s), and the designer and all the audiences of the client(s) — either real or imagined. Dialog involves

– Brainstorming

– Exploring points of view

– Challenging perceptions

– Delineating options

– Evaluating the risks and rewards associated with each option

– Anticipating consequences

– Expanding ideas and perspectives

– Sharing experiences and feelings of connection to the project

The specific skills the designer applies include active listening, emotional reasoning, questioning, observing, probing, wondering, thinking out loud, synthesizing, connecting, creating, recognizing, interpreting, pushing and pulling.

The designer needs to know answers to these types of questions. When asking questions, if at all possible, the designer wants to frame them in such a way that they force choices. Examples of forced choices include things like,

– either / or

– this or that

– prioritizing

– grouping

– categorizing

– if this, then what

– organizing and arranging

– timing

– specifying criteria for evaluation

So, the designer might want to ask things like:

· What to do and What not to do

· Why this is important and necessary, moreso than what other things

· Why the client needs the designer to do this but not that

· To what degree the piece or project will impact the client under a list of different circumstances

· How and why the client values the designer’s work as well as the finished design above something else, like some other designer’s work, or not having the design at all

· What criteria the client will use to know that the finished design will have the intended value

· What alternative ways might the finished design be valued

· If any task or process or design element can be different or better?

A dialectic occurs to the extent that all parties actively listen to one another and think out loud. The design process needs to be welcoming. It should feel emotionally and cognitively comfortable. People should be free to express thoughts and free to disconnect from them when they change their minds. In a progressive and successful dialog, the participants will begin to shift their assumptions, expectations, perceptions, and values and desires, as necessary for the design project to proceed.

As the design process unfolds, then, all decisions, actions, words, focus and the like derive from these shared understandings. These shared understandings encapsulate ideas about possibility, purpose, and project criteria. They lay out what the designer and client(s) want to do, where they want to go, and how they will do it to the satisfaction of all.

The finished design serves as a permanent record of meanings — those shared understandings — — negotiated and conveyed by the designer and all the collaborators along the way. As a permanent record, it implicitly documents action, purpose, value and desire. It represents a narrative measure of how risks have been traded off with rewards.

The finished design only serves as this permanent record to the extent that the design has been introduced publicly in a such a way that its shared understandings are revealed.

The permanency of this record may be ephemeral and only last for a short time. Although the design itself is fixed, interpretations of the shared understandings underlying it may still change with the different contexts and situations or timeframes users of the design find themselves. The designer’s job, even after completing the piece or project, may never be completely done.

Importantly, all this communicative interaction is how design significantly differs from art or craft. Design is a lived experience.

The designer should be able to

· Distinguish the ideal from the real.

· Be aware of the interplay of the designer’s reactions and those reactions of the various client audiences.

· Discern intent and value, and the degree they are sufficient and enduring, as these evolve over the course of the design process.

· Specify tasks to be done which are truly supportive to the process of design management.

· Create a design process which, in effect, is a learning environment, conducive for the identification, negotiation, development and decision making which revolves around shared understandings.

· Improve their accuracy in becoming aware of client assumptions, expectations, perceptions, and values and desires.

· Distinguish options regarding form, content, materials and approach, assign measures of risk and reward to each option, and prioritize them in line with developing shared understandings.

Effective Risk Communication

One way to define the designer’s role is to view it as risk communication. Effective risk communication involves understanding people and issues. This means an ability to elicit assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values and desires. This means an ability to clarify options. An ability to either soften or intensify. An ability to organize and guide. An ability to prioritize, group, categorize, select among options. An ability to coordinate and resolve. An ability to maintain consistency over what could be a long period of time. An ability to share expertise and insights. An ability to restate things in measurable terms — exact numbers (10 hours of work) or relative concepts (slightly longer than the last project).

The client’s opinions are influenced by trust in the credibility of available risk information. This could relate to little things like identifying why one color might be a better choice than another. This could relate to bigger things like identifying what location sales should occur which might be better than another. Or like what to perform better in-house, than not.

There are many such risks which must be assessed, measured, conveyed and agreed upon in the design process, including, among others, …

· Making tradeoffs between beauty and function

· Resolving conflicts between designer values and desires with those of the client

· Over-doing or under-doing the project

· Choosing the wrong materials and techniques

· Mismatching materials with techniques

· Determining a stopping point for the project

· Incorrectly anticipating the context within which the design is to function

· Managing the design process over a period of time, without losing motivation, commitment or focus

· Handling budgets, administration, marketing tasks

How is this trust established? First off, the designer’s competence and expertise should be on display. Next, the designer should be able to demonstrate empathy, honesty and commitment. The designer should be able to delineate options for each task or goal. The designer should be able to understand and accept the developing assessments of risk in the choices to be made. The designer should be able to explain why something would not be a concern. Finally, the designer should be organized and prepared, a good communicator, and show a willingness to coordinate or collaborate, if need be.

Designers, then, communicate the levels of risk involved with any choice. All choices have consequences. Making one choice usually negates the opportunity for making alternative choices. Subsumed within any choice are sensations about workability, implementability, worth, some measure of risk relative to some reward. The choices could be about selecting materials or techniques. They could be about which design elements to use, and which ones not. They could be about which tasks to perform and when. They could be about criteria for determining whether a project should be judged finished and successful.

There are some keys to successful, adept messaging about risk. These include,

· Having a clear purpose and educating others about the purpose (both designer’s and client’s), how these relate to assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values, how to gain consensus

· Reducing all possible options to three or perhaps four major ones

· Supporting the pros and cons for each option with two to four facts

· Being up-front about uncertainty and possible consequences

· Detailing and explaining your preferences

· Explaining important conclusions about possible impacts with supporting reasons and details

· Tailoring the language to the client; working with the client to translate possible risks into language and measurements more familiar to that client

· Identifying things not yet known, such as having to learn techniques, or finding materials, or developing new forms or arrangements, or specifying a time frame for when you might be finished with the project

· Linking the project to past experiences or other things which the client might feel connected

· Asking the client to pre-test things and provide feedback and evaluation

· Keeping in regular touch with the client

· Being prepared for skepticism, controversy, misunderstanding, miscommunication or misdirection

· Being flexible, open to new ideas, and ready to suggest alternative solutions and ready to negotiate

· Not overlapping design projects; keeping things separate and compartmentalized

· If the overall project is especially large, breaking it up into a series of smaller projects; the project should be small enough so that risk and reward can be easily assessed and measured, and choices can be concise

· Having clear criteria for evaluating the project (and its continued value to and desirability for the client) at each increment of the way; allowing the criteria to grow, change and evolve, as necessary, without fostering disagreement

Designer Thinking: 
 Literate, Fluent and Flexible in the Discipline of Design

When designers think like designers, they demonstrate a degree of leadership skills which goes a little beyond those of basic management. The fluent designer has the courage to have a vision and the wherewithal to stick with it until it is a finished product design. That designer has the courage to help others share understandings about the vision and how it will fit with their desires, as well. And that designer brings along that Designer Toolbox of strategies for adapting to unfamiliar or new situations.

Designers literate in design create learning environments within which communication and dialog flourish. These environments must allow for the free-flowing exchange of ideas, the expression of feelings and thoughts and values, and the emergence of shared understandings.

The fluent designer attaches concepts to design elements. Meaning to compositional arrangements. Transforms assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values and desires. Comfortably adapts to new or unfamiliar situations. Anticipates the future, and strategically brings this knowledge to bear when defining current tasks and setting priorities. Is very aware of their own thought processes and is not afraid to share them, modify them or completely change them. Or, conversely, to respond to or re-shape those of others.

Designers literate in design are metacognitive. They are aware of their thinking and how their thoughts play out and impact any situation. They are aware of how their own thinking and their client’s thinking is reflected back in the things they have designed. If the designer does not provide a sense of the underlying intellect in their designs, others cannot appreciate or anticipate what the designer was trying to accomplish.

Fluent designers are sensitive to what knowledges and skills they currently possess, which ones they do not, what ones they need to learn to complete the project at hand, and how to go about learning these.

They are critical in that they recognize the tradeoffs between risks and rewards of any choice — large or small — that they make vis-à-vis any project. They are able to articulate their critiques and raise questions about the project or process.

Relinquishing Your Design To Others: 
 A Rite Of Passage

One of the most emotionally difficult things designers do is saying Good-bye! to their designs as they hand them over to their client or otherwise expose their work publicly. The designer has contributed so much thinking and has spent so much time to the project that it is like ripping away an integral part of your being.

This is the moment where you want to maintain the conversation and engage with your audience, but look at this from a different perspective. Your relationship with your design is evolving and you need to evolve with it. Its innate intimacy is shifting away from you and getting taken over by someone else.

But you still have needs here. You want that client to ask you to design something else for them. You want the client to share your design with others, expanding your audience, your potential clients, your validation and legitimacy as a designer. And you want to prepare yourself emotionally to take on the next project.

Relinquishing control over your design is a rite of passage. At the heart of this rite of passage are shared understandings and how they must shift in content and perspective. Rites of passage are ceremonies of sorts. Marking the passage from one status to another. There are three stages:

(1) Separation

You pass your design to others. You become an orphan. You have made a sacrifice and want something emotionally powerful and equal to happen to you in return. Things feel incomplete or missing. There is a void wanting to be fulfilled. You realize you are no longer sure about and confident in the shared understandings under which you had been operating .

(2) Transition (a betwixt and between)

There is a separation, a journey, a sacrifice. The designer is somewhat removed from the object or project, but not fully. The shared understandings constructed around the original project become fuzzy. Something to be questioned. Wondering if to hold on to them or let go. If they remain relevant. Pondering what to do next. Playing out in your head different variations in or changes to these shared understandings. Attempting to assess the implications and consequences for any change.

These original shared understandings must undergo some type of symbolic ritual death if the designer is to move on. Leverage the experience. Start again. As simple as putting all the project papers in a box to be filed away. Or having a launch party. Or deleting files and images on a computer.

(3) Reincorporation

The designer redefines him- or her-self vis-à-vis the designed object or project. The designer acquires new knowledge and new shared understandings. There is some reaffirmation. Triumph. This usually involves a new resolve, confidence and strategy for starting new projects, attracting new clients, and seeking wider acceptance of that designer’s skills and fluency in design.

The designer has passed through the rite of passage. The jewelry or other designed object or project has been relinquished. The designer is ready to start again.

But as a designer, you will always be managing shared understandings. These most likely will have shifted or changed after the design is gone. And new ones will have to be constructed as you take on new assignments.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1: What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2: What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3: How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4: How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

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Part 3: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN How Assumptions…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

The Primacy of Subjectivity

The designer needs / wants / demands some level of acceptance by the client for the design. It is important to anticipate and assess how the client will form an opinion and make this kind of judgment.

For the client, some things will be accepted as true and right without proof. We call these things assumptions.

Other things for the client must be interpreted as to what they mean — a mental map or impression. We call these things perceptions.

The client will also have certain beliefs about what will happen or should have happened. We call these things expectations.

Last, the client will have certain preferences about what will or should happen which motivate the client to make certain judgments and take certain actions. We call these things values or desires.

Clients Have Opinions and Judge

We all know this. When we first meet the client, they have opinions about us and judge us. As we are working on the project, they have opinions about us and judge us. When we hand over the project to them, they have opinions about us and judge us. This is OK. This is natural and to be expected.

· Do they like it or not?

· Is it exciting to them or boring?

· Ugly or pretty?

· Useful or not?

· Worth it to them or not?

As a designer who wants people to wear or use your designs, sell your designs, exhibit your designs, buy your designs, share your designs with others, then you need to understand how your clients form their opinions and make their judgments. You need to understand the implications, consequences, impacts, effects and affects this all brings to your designs and your design process. You need to begin to formulate how you will incorporate these understandings into your design process. And you need to figure out how you will influence their understandings so that they will recognize your skill and worth as a designer. All this is essential to the design process. It should be stating the obvious that things go awry whenever the interests of people are incompatible.

One cautionary note: Your clients will probably have a certain naivete. They may know little to nothing about design, construction, selection of materials and techniques, compositions and arrangements of design elements — everything you know a lot about.

Will they appreciate the difference between hand-made and machine made? Will they be accepting your choices about what to include and what not to include? Will they recognize good design and be able to differentiate it from bad? Will they demand of you a higher level of fluency in design and motivate you to meet high expectations?

The better designer will look for ways to bring the client into the core of the design process. The designer will signal to the client that design requires some communication and conversation. The designer will take time to educate the client. The designer will guide the client through the process of eliciting assumptions, expectations, perceptions and values and desires. The designer will identify the emerging shared understandings and incorporate these into decisions about selecting materials and techniques, arrangements of objects within a design, and specifying tasks to be performed.

Assumptions

Our ideas and intents are supported by our assumptions about the world around us. Some assumptions are learned through our history and experiences. Some are taught to us. We take assumptions as givens and usually are unaware of them as we apply them. Except when our assumptions lead us on a path we do not want to travel.

Assumptions save us time and effort. As truisms, they allow us not to have to test and validate every little thing that comes our way. But they also can negatively affect our relationships, business or otherwise. We make assumptions about other people’s behavior, other people’s intentions, and our own behavior and intentions, and our assumptions can be off the mark. We may be laying a flawed foundation for our understanding of the relationship.

We need to identify and check our assumptions. We need to give our client the opportunity to identify and check their own assumptions. All this has to occur while developing a common, shared understanding of the design task at hand.

So, you can ask the client directly,

What do you want this piece or project to do for you?
 What do you see me doing?
 How familiar are you with the design tasks involved?

Assumptions are one of several things underlying client judgments. Let’s talk about Perceptions.

Perceptions

Perceptions are ways of regarding, understanding or interpreting something. Perceptions are subjective, and each person has their own subtle differences, even when responding to the same design or event. In fact, different people may have very different perceptions about the same design or event. Their assumptions, expectations and values may further color their perceptions.

Each person filters their perceptions with each move, each conversation, and each situation. Such filters may contingently alter perceptions. They may result in selectively perceiving some things, but not others. In design work, our clients might selectively focus on brighter lights, louder sounds, stronger odors, sharper textures. Selective perception can add some more muddiness to the interaction and finding and developing the shared understandings necessary for success.

Adequately sharing understandings within a situation and among the people in it depends on the amount of information available to each person and how correctly they interpret it. Perception is one of the critical psychological abilities we have in order to survive in any environment.

The designer needs to be open to understanding how the client perceives the design tasks and proposed outcomes, and to adjust their own perceptions when the management of the relationship calls for this. There is no formula here. Each situation requires its own management strategy. Each designer is left with their own inventiveness, sensitivity, and introspective skills to deal with perceptions. But it comes down to asking the right questions and actively listening.

How does the client begin to understand your product or service?
 Can the client describe what they think you will be doing and what the piece or product might look like when finished?
 Can the client tell you how the finished piece or product will meet their needs and feelings?
 Can the client tell you about different options?
 How will they interpret what you want them to know?
 What impressions do you want to leave with them?
 Do they perceive a connection between you as a designer and your design work as proposed?
 What levels of agreement and disagreement exist between your perceptions and theirs?
 Can you get at any reasons which might explain their perceptions, and any agreement or difference?
 Can you clear up any misperceptions?

Expectations

Expectations attach to perceptions. These are predispositions to perceive things in a certain way. They explain why people are more likely to prefer one interpretation or explanation over another.

Clients will have expectations about what the designer is like as a person. What the designer does. How the designer interacts with other people. How the designer sets a value and prices their work. What kind of ongoing information we will get. What the finished product or project might look like. How useful that product or project might be.

When expectations are not met, there is a sense of frustration. Even paralysis. There might be feelings of disrespect or disregard. Why didn’t the designer do what was expected? Why am I unhappy with the finished product or project?

As with assumptions and perceptions, the designer needs to define a management role for him- or herself relative to client expectations.

Was the designer aware of the client’s expectations?
 Was the client asked about their expectations?
 Was the designer skilled enough and insightful enough to meet those expectations?
 Was it in the client’s interest to steadfastly hold tight to their expectations, or to modify them?

Values and Desires

Values and desires are motivational. They signal a predisposition to act. They are a measure of the tradeoffs between the risks involved and the expected rewards. A social or economic calculation. A cognitive evaluation further affecting behavior. As such, they are a form of understanding.

Values and desires have a great impact on the assumptions people bring with them to the situation, and which ones they do not want to challenge. Values and desires have a great impact on the expectations people have, and which ones they want to prioritize. Values and desires have a great impact on the perceptions people have of the world, and which perceptions they want to act on.

Values and desires have two key components — the contributions of the designer and the motivations of the client. First, there is the value the designer places on the work, given the resources involved, the time spent, the skill applied, and meanings represented in the piece and importance to the designer. Second, there is the value the client places on the work, given their assumptions, perceptions, expectations, previous experience, and the socio-cultural-psychological context they find themselves in.

People project their feelings and thoughts and sensitivities onto the designed object, whether it be jewelry, an interior design, or a digitized representation online. These projections, however, can have many roots. Self-esteem. Self-expression. Social advantage. Tool of negotiation. Power.

Values and desires sometimes are expressed in monetary terms. Such and such a thing is priced at some dollar amount or assigned some worth also in monetary terms.

They more often are expressed with words. We hear words like beautiful, satisfying, appealing. And other words like ugly, boring, scary. Or phrases like worth it, I want it, I want to buy it, I want to collect it. Or more phrases like the designer’s pieces are in demand and rare, or the designer spent so much time creating the design, or the object contains several rare jewels.

Sometimes the meanings associated with these words are relative, comparative or proportional. That is, they reveal more about values and desires. We hear phrases like more satisfying, not as ugly as…, rarer than…, not as large as…, takes longer to make, about half as bright, and so forth.

Values and desires, then, involve direction (positive or negative) and intensity (a lot, somewhat, or a little). Both designer and client, more often than not, have to filter their assumptions, perceptions and expectations a bit and sensitively trade-off various assumptions, perceptions and expectations each brings to the design situation. They do this by establishing value and desire. They establish value and desire by communicating about risks relative to rewards.

Communicating about risks and rewards takes the form of (a) identifying various design or design process options, (b) talking about their pros, cons and consequences, ( c) attaching a sense of measurability (absolute or relative) to each option, and (d) selecting preferences for what should happen next.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1: What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2: What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3: How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4: How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Part 2: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Does The Designer…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

What Kinds Of Things Does The Designer Need To Know?

The designer needs to be able to assess and manage shared understandings all through-out the design process. The designer needs to …

(1) Be clear about the role designers should play, and how to relate to the client

Design is an occupation in the throws of becoming a profession. “Design” and the designer role are claimed by three very different perspectives — what are called paradigms — about what the designer role should be about. These ways of looking at things come down to whether designers see their roles as craft, art or design. This can make it a little confusing about how the designer should go about assessing and managing shared understandings, and how the designer should relate to the client. To do so successfully, the designer may have to change their preferred paradigm, that is, how they think through what they should do.

(2) Be aware of the primacy of subjective experiences

How people interact with designs is very subjective. The designer can predict some universal understandings about color, object and placement. But the designer also needs to be prepared to ferret out those subjective assumptions, perspectives and values of the client (and the client’s various audiences).

(3) Be familiar with how designs have shared understandings, and why the development of these shared understandings is a social process

Conception, creation and implementation do not occur in a vacuum. They emerge as part of a social process. The recognition of a design — what it is, how useful it is, how enduring it is — is not wholly determined by that design’s objective characteristics. It is jointly determined.

Designers Operate Within One Of Three Professional Paradigms

There are three different paradigms or approaches within which designers operate — Craft, Art or Design. Each paradigm is very coherent and rule- and expectation-bound. Each is a standard perspective and set of ideas.

Each approach seeks to provide the answers to the question: Who Am I As A Designer? Each approach steers the designer to play out their role differently. Each approach leads the designer to make different assumptions about the process, what skills and abilities need to come to bear, how to approach and interact with the client, and how to evaluate the success of the outcome. Each approach provides guidance about the outcome the designer should strive for.

Designing is about making choices. Each approach gives you different advice about the norms for acceptable conduct. It is important to be aware of all this, and if you are to develop the necessary skills and insights for assessing and managing shared understandings, you may have to change the paradigm-perspective you have been operating under.

THE CRAFT APPROACH

By far, the most typically-encountered approach is called the Craft Approach
 The design process here is very mechanical. Tasks are reduced to step-by-step instructions, almost like paint-by-number. Things are very systematic. There is a clear beginning where you start your project, an organized middle, and a clear end when you finish it. Tasks are specified and carried out generically, that is, applied similarly over many design projects. The primary focus is on getting the job done with some attention to beauty and appeal.

The Craft Approach assumes:
 
 1. That the designer is either born with creative talents or not. Creativity is not something that you can learn.
 2. The only thing that matters in design is to complete the task.
 3. Designing is something anyone can do. It requires little to no specialized knowledge that must be garnered through a professional degree program.
 4. In unfamiliar or new situations, there are no issues of adaptability. There is sort of a Have-Design-Will-Travel mentality. 
 5. Disciplinary literacy and fluency result from repetition and practice. The designer learns to be able to produce the same object over and over again.

Some consequences:
 

 a. Since the singular goal is to get the job done, little thought or concern is placed on anticipating consequences and responding to them as they arise.
 
 b. Appeal and beauty are primarily based on simply completing the project — no matter how it looks or feels or holds up with wear or use. It is assumed the project will be functional.

c. The designer is taught to start with a set of instructions, flow-chart or a pattern, and follow these mechanically. The instructions are assumed to be written correctly, need no further clarification, and should not be altered.
 
 d. The better designer is one who has done more and more projects.
 
 e. Easy to define an acceptable outcome — completing the project instructions from start to finish. It is assumed that there are few compositional issues, and that the project will be appreciated universally simply because it has been completed.

THE ART TRADITION

A second approach designers gravitate towards is the Art Tradition. The Art Tradition believes that the designer needs to learn a set of rules that can be used to apply to any situation where you are making designs. It is less important that you follow a set of steps. It’s more important to know how to apply art theories — things like color, perspective, dimension, pattern, texture, balance, harmony, composition and the like — to your project at each stage of the process, whatever that process is, and wherever that process takes you.

These art theories detail what defines successful (and unsuccessful) manipulation of design elements — universally and objectively — within any piece of art or design. There is some acknowledgement that subjectivity influences perceptions, but this is minimized. The focus, is instead, on universally accepted ideas about harmony in design. Design is seen as either a subset of painting or of sculpture. It is not seen as having its own discipline and medium, with its own special rules, theories, techniques and approaches, apart from those in art. Design is judged apart from the setting in which it is put into use.

What is nice about the Art Tradition, is that the goal is Beauty and there are issues of choice to be solved. The designer is not encumbered by having to follow specific steps or patterns. Nor is the designer encumbered by the structural and functional properties of all the pieces she or he uses — only their beauty. The designer does not have to compromise Beauty for Functionality.

The Art Tradition assumes:
 
 1. While different people have different creative abilities, everyone has some creative ability, and can be influenced in how to apply these creative talents.
 2. What matters in design is how you approach the process. It is irrelevant whether the designer is deliberative or spontaneous. It does matter whether the designer has applied the rules intuitively and correctly at each increment of the way. The end result will be a very beautiful piece of jewelry.
 3. Design as art is really a form of sculpture or painting, and should be judged by the rules of sculpture or painting. The focus is on how you think through the process and make it intuitive. 
 4. The designer can achieve universally-accepted combinations and arrangements of design elements incorporated into any specific design piece or project.
 5. Disciplinary literacy and fluency result from rehearsing theories and applying them over and over again until they become intuitive for any design choices you make.

Some consequences:
 

 a. Little thought is given to issues of wearability or usability or durability.

b. The beauty of the design is as if it had been painted or sculpted. This is paramount.

c. The designer is taught that design is a matter of making choices, there are smarter choices to be made, and there are consequences when making any one choice. There is recognition that the designer may need to adapt to new or unfamiliar situations.

d. Design requires professional training and development over time.
 
 e. Success results from universal understandings about how design elements should be combined and arranged so that they are harmonious, preferably with a bit of variety.

f. The full attention is on managing composition. Little attention or concern is placed on managing construction.

THE ART AND DESIGN PERSPECTIVE

A third approach to design is called the Art and Design Perspective. This paradigm recognizes the importance of the Art Tradition, especially in understanding the design process as the culmination of a series of choices, each sensitive to the context within which they are made, and each with elements of risks, rewards and consequences. This approach adds, however, to the types of choices the designer is seen as making beyond those involving beauty and appeal. These include such things as functionality, usability, durability.

· Design creates its own challenges which the Art Tradition either ignores or cannot meet.

· Designs function in real (or virtual) 3-dimensional spaces, particularly sensitive to position, light/shadow, volume and scale.

· Design must stand on its own as an object of art, while simultaneously interacting with the people around it while they are using or utilizing it. Design alters people’s relationships to it in the moment, across situations and settings, and over time.

· Design has to succeed where the responses to it are primarily subjective, even quirky. It serves many purposes for many wearers and viewers and users and responders. Some are aesthetic. Some functional. Some social, cultural and/or psychological.

In the Art and Design Perspective, designers learn their roles developmentally. That means, certain steps and rules should be learned before others, and that continual learning keeps building upon itself. While many designers initially learn their profession in a more shot-gun, less-than-organized way, it is necessary for them to, at some point, return to some basics and begin that developmental, hierarchical process. Only in this way will they truly begin to comprehend how everything interrelates and is inter-dependent.

There are many things to know and learn that present themselves in the design process — some art, architecture, engineering, behavioral science, social science, psychology, physics, mechanics, planning, marketing, administering, many techniques, many different materials, perhaps some computer coding and technology management, and the list goes on. The only way to become to become fluent in design is to gain an intuitive understanding how all these things are integrated, inter-related, and inter-dependent. That means developmentally learning how to become a design professional.

Designers work backward. That is, they first assess the shared understandings of all their clients involved, and how they anticipate the design project will be understood as finished and successful. Then the designers begin to clarify what tasks they need to perform to get there. How deliberate they are in specifying and following through on the ordering of the tasks to be performed will vary, depending on their personality, experience and comfort level. They may not do everything a full scientific management approach might suggest if there is no cost-benefit in the use of this time and the materials; that is, if their assessment of shared understandings informs them that particular tasks are unnecessary to do.

The Art and Design Tradition assumes:
 

 1. Everyone has creative abilities, but for most people, these need to be carefully groomed and attended to developmentally. Expressing creativity is not a matter of turning a switch on and off. It’s a process that can be influenced by ideas and situations. The challenge is to teach people to become more intuitive in expressing their creative abilities and ideas.
 2. What matters in design is that your project be judged as a work of art. In this case, the definition of “art” is specific to the design, in anticipation of how it will be used or utilized. Design can only be understood as “art” as it is put into use.
 3. The end-user — the wearer or viewer, the buyer, the seller, the exhibitor, the collector, the student, the interactor, the inhabiter — responds to design mostly in a very subjective way.
 4. Disciplinary literacy and fluency result from continual learning, rehearsing, and applying sets of integrated skills in different situations.

Some consequences:
 
 a. This approach focuses on design issues. Beauty and appeal, along with functionality, wearability, durability, context, movement are all key considerations in selecting parts and interrelating these parts in a design. Very concerned with how you select parts and materials.
 
 b. The beauty of the piece involves its construction, its lay-out, its consistency with rules of art theory, and how it holds up (physically and aesthetically) as it is worn in different situations. The focus is on how you organize your construction, piece by piece.

c. The jewelry designer is taught that design is a matter of making choices, there are smarter choices to be made, and there are consequences when making any one choice. Choices involve making strategic tradeoffs among appeal, functionality, and contextual relevance. There is recognition that the designer may need to adapt to new or unfamiliar situations.

d. Design requires continue professional training, development and re-training and re-development over time.

e. The full attention is on managing composition, manipulation and construction, and making hard choices where strategies conflict.
 
 f. An acceptable outcome is one where the design maintains a sense of itself as art, as the piece is worn, inhabited or otherwise utilized. The piece or project should feel finished, usable and resonant to its intended client audience. The piece or project should reflect the designer’s hand while at the same time reveal its intimacy with the client.

The Universal and the Subjective

In design, we play with, organize and arrange design elements and objects, some of which are universally understood, like color schemes, and others in which clients respond to in very subjective ways.

For things universally shared and understood, we do not have to take the time to delineate and convey all the relevant information. Some of the relevant information is already understood. Designers do not have to spend a lot of time trying to anticipate and assess these universal and shared understandings.

These universals typically are predetermined. Sometimes by biology where our brains are prewired to either approach or flee. Universals are things which we approach. Other things we might have to interpret and figure out, perhaps deciding to flee. Othertimes, by culture or society, where we learn automatically to recognize various symbols, objects and meanings, and play out certain roles. And, yet, still othertimes by psychology, where we make certain assumptions, interpretations and value judgments where we accept things as fact without needing further proof.

Most things we will encounter, however, are not universals. They are subjective. Our work, our interactions with clients, our marketing our products and services all revolve around interpretation. Interpretation is subjective and judgmental.

What designers do need to figure out, when working with any client, is how that person’s assumptions, perceptions, expectations and values will impact the design process and the resulting piece or project so designed.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1: What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2: What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3: How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4: How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

______________________________
 
FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

I hope you found this article useful.

Also, check out my website (www.warrenfeldjewelry.com).

Enroll in my jewelry design and business of craft video tutorials online.

Add your name to my email list.

Visit Land of Odds online (https://www.landofodds.com)for all your jewelry making supplies.

Subscribe to my Learn To Bead blog (https://blog.landofodds.com).

Posted in Stitch 'n Bitch | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Part 1: SHARED UNDERSTANDINGS:  THE CONVERSATION CENTERED WITHIN A DESIGN What Are Shared…

Posted by learntobead on October 16, 2020

Practice-By-Design Series

Image by Feld, 2020

How You Are Reflected Back In Your Own Work

A piece of jewelry, a website landing page, the interior of a room, the public face of a building, all these so designed, are objects of beauty and functionality. But they are more than that. Things which are designed are unique forms of artistic expression. They are not stationery in the sense of paintings hung in a museum. They have a different type of relationship with the user or utilizer. They have a specific relationship to the body. They might move with the person, or have the person move with them or through them. They might adjust positions as the person walks, sits, runs, turns, bends, maneuvers. They might relate to clothing and hair styles and dexterity and maneuverability and body shapes and sizes. They might flow through many contexts, environments and situations. Design is expressive. Relational. Both an object and, more importantly, an intent.

Design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self, designer and client, and less directly, designer and all the various audiences of that client. Otherwise people would not use the design. Or influence others to use and buy it. Or bring it into a public space with them. Or interact with it. Or buy it.

That conversation does not happen all at once. It does not start and stop at the beginning of the design process. It does not fully resolve itself even after the piece or project is finished and then used or bought or shared. That conversation continues as that piece or project is introduced to others and they react to it.

The things we design and make and inhabit and wear speak about ourselves as artists and our clients as persons. The designer can be somewhat alone, but never alone. In his or her head, but simultaneously complicit or perhaps collaborative with others, either in reality, or virtually and in the abstract. Design emerges from this dialogue, imaginative or otherwise. And only emerges with some level of commitment to a conversation.

This commitment to a conversation, centered around any piece of jewelry or other designed product or project, then is progressive. It is perspective shifting. It is reflective. It keeps going as everyone who interacts with the design begins to formulate whether they like it or not. Whether it excites them or not. Whether they would wear it or buy it or inhabit it or utilize it or not. Whether it feels finished. Whether it seems successful. Whether it would suit some purpose, or fulfill some agenda. But the shifting perspectives and emerging collective, shared understandings about the design always reflect back on the authentic performance of the designer. Endlessly reflective.

Some designers are very aware of their thinking during their authentic performance in design; others are not. While the former is a more powerful position to be in, all designers will need to figure out — before, during and after the design process — what criteria these various audiences will use to assess any design as meeting their needs, desires and requirements. How do they evaluate a design as coherent, relevant and resonant for them? How do they determine how much the designer’s own design sense contributed to coherency, relevancy and resonance? How do they share these understandings with others as they use and interact with the design publicly? What makes these understandings contagious so that others get excited about the design, as well?

The better designer anticipates answers to these questions. The designer uses this information as evidence in formulating and judging the smartness of the choices to be made when designing and constructing something. This evidence — good, bad or indifferent — forms the basis for criticality. It is a measurement. It states a position and measures the deviation. That criticality guides the designer all along the way from inspiration to aspiration to design to introducing the piece or project publicly.

Evidence in this knowledge-building experience is assessed, managed and controlled. All designers want to get good at this. It is their way of inspiring their clients to recognize the designer’s power in translating thoughts and feelings into design, that is, to reflect back the designer in their own design. We call this coherency. It is their way to excite their clients on an emotional level. We call this resonance. It is their way of influencing their clients to want to wear and buy and utilize their designs. We call this contagion. As the clients use these designs publicly, we also want to get their audiences to see and experience coherency, resonance and contagion.

Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. It is a two-way mirror. It is a catalyst for exchange. It is a marker of validity. Design is a product of creativity. Design is a tool of engagement. Design is a means toward criticality and legitimacy. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all these things and how they might play out in any situation. Authentic performances in anticipation of shared understandings and with no apologies. That’s the goal, at least.

Why Shared Understanding Matters

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. The designer’s ability to solve what is, in effect, a complex problem or puzzle becomes a performance of sorts, where the designer ferrets out in various ways — deliberate or otherwise — what the end users will perceive as making sense, having value and eliciting a desire powerful enough to motivate them to wear a design, inhabit it, buy it, utilize it, exhibit it or collect it. The designer, however, wants one more critical thing to result from this performance — recognition and validation of all the creative and managerial choices he or she made during the design process.

People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will interact with the designer to answer the question: Do You Know What I Know? If they get a sense, even figure out, that the answer is Yes, they share understandings! — they then become willing to collaborate (or at least become complicit) with the designer and the developing design.

Sometimes this convergence of understandings and meanings and intents occurs in a happenstance sort of way. But more often, it won’t happen without some degree of assertive leadership on the part of the designer. It is primarily up to the designer to establish these shared understandings. That is, the designer must take the lead to anticipate how they themselves should relate to their understanding of reality. The designer must invite the client to engage. So the designer, too, will ask the same question of the client that the client has asked of them: Do You Know What I Know?

The answer to this simple question — Do You Know What I Know? — is more than how the designer impresses the client and how the client impresses the designer. It is deeper than that. It is not surface meaning. It is not something descriptive. It is something critical. At its core are ideas about intent and desire. Its vocabulary gets very caught up in ideas about risks and rewards. The conversation to establish these shared understandings — we might call this a dance — proceeds on many levels, some assumptive, some perceptual, some through expectations, some through values and desires.

The designer, in effect, bridges the gap between how the designer sees the risks and rewards within any design process and outcome, and how the client might see these same risks and rewards. Both want to assess ahead of time whether the project will be satisfactory, feel finished, and meet their needs and desires. Both want to assess ahead of time whether there will be consequences, and what these consequences might be, should these communications and shared understandings about risk somehow fail or not meet expectations.

The designer wants to avoid any miscommunication. Any frustration. Any discomfort. So an in-depth, intuitive knowledge about shared understandings, how to anticipate them, and how to incorporate them into the design process is necessary for the success of any design.

The designer should not assume there will be shared understandings. The designer should not assume that there will be a pleasant, conflict-free relationship with the client. The designer should not assume that any disagreement or miscommunication will be worked out at the beginning of the process and not have to be dealt with again. Nor, conversely, should the designer assume that any disagreement about elements of the design would negate shared understandings. The designer and client can agree to disagree as long as they share certain understandings.

Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. They are about

· Getting a sense of where the ideas for the design originate

· How the design process is to unfold

· What the design might be able to accomplish and what it might not

· What happens if conditions or intents and desires change over the course of the process

· How adaptable the designer is

· The chances the final design will feel finished and successful

· What criteria the final design needs to meet

If neither designer nor client understand intent and risk as each other sees it, there will be no shared understandings. The design will be ill-defined and poorly articulated. The designer’s performance will be inauthentic. There will be no trust. No legitimacy. No satisfactory outcome.

While the need for establishing shared understanding in the design process might seem obvious, it does not often occur. Designers too often assume this will happen automatically. They present designs as fait-accompli — their success predetermined and prejudged as successful. They lose some level of management control when the client responds negatively. They fail to adapt or become too inflexible when the situation changes. The designs get implemented imperfectly. When the client takes possession of the design, the relationship ends.

About the Shared Understanding Series…

For any design, it is a long journey from idea to implementation. This journey involves different people at different times along the way. People will not use a design if their agendas and understandings do not converge in some way. They will not buy a design or contract with the designer unless there are some shared understandings about what should happen and when, what will happen, and what the risks and rewards of the finished project will be. Shared understandings are about recognizing intent and risk. Design is both an outcome as well as an instrument for new shared understandings, new relationships, new behaviors, new reflections. As such, any design represents a commitment to a conversation — between designer and self and designer and client. The conversation allows for the management of shifting assumptions, expectations, perspectives and values. Better designs show the designer’s conscious awareness of all the things affecting shared understandings.

Continue Reading With…
 PART 1:
What Are Shared Understandings?
 PART 2:
What Part Does The Designer Need To Know?
 PART 3:
How Assumptions, Perceptions, Expectations and Values Come Into Play?
 PART 4:
How Does The Designer Establish Shared Understandings?

Other Articles of Interest by Warren Feld:

Disciplinary Literacy and Fluency In Design

Backward Design is Forward Thinking

How Creatives Can Successfully Survive In Business

Part I: The First Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: Is What I do Craft, Art or Design?

Part 2: The Second Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Should I Create?

Part 3: The Third Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: What Materials (and Techniques) Work Best?

Part 4: The Fourth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Evoke A Resonant Response To My Work?

Part 5: The Firth Essential Question Every Designer Should Be Able To Answer: How Do I Know My Design Is Finished?

Doubt / Self-Doubt: 8 Pitfalls Designers Fall Into…And What To Do About Them

Part 1: Your Passion For Design: Is It Necessary To Have A Passion?

Part 2: Your Passion For Design: Do You Have To Be Passionate To Be Creative?

Part 3: Your Passion For Design: How Does Being Passionate Make You A Better Designer?

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FOOTNOTES

Adamson, Glenn. Thinking Through Craft. 2007.

Baker, Jamie Feild. What is Shared Understanding? 6/24/2009. As referenced:

http://reverbconsulting.blogspot.com/2009/06/what-is-shared-understanding.html

Bittner, Eva Alice Christiane, and Leimeister, Jan Marco. Why Shared Understanding Matters — Engineering a Collaboration Process for Shared Understanding to Improve Collaboration Effectiveness in Heterogeneous Teams. Year: 2013, Volume: 1, Pages: 106–114, DOI Bookmark:10.1109/HICSS.2013.608.

Canel, Melissa. The Role of Perceptions in Conflict. April 9, 2016. As referenced:

https://prezi.com/auvtd6yylkkf/the-role-of-perceptions-in-conflict/

Cheung, Chung Fai. A Connected Critic: Can Michael Walzer Connect High-Mondernity with Tradition? Understanding, 2006. As referenced:
 http://www.emonastery.org/files/art/critic/2understanding.html

Clark, Garth. Shards. Ceramic Arts Foundation and Distributed Art Publications, 2003.

Cooper, J. David, Robinson, M, Slansky, J.A., and Kiger, N. Literacy: Helping Students Construct, 9th Edition, Cengage Learning, 2015.

Dunlop, Cole. You Are Not Worried Enough About Perceptions and Assumptions. May 7, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.authoritylabs.com/worried-enough-perceptions-assumptions/

Feld, Warren. Backward Design Is Forward Thinking. 2020. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@warren_29626/backward-design-is-forwards-thinking-design-in-practice-series-6f9a9f4f8cd9

Feld, Warren. Jewelry Design: A Managed Process. Klimt02, 2/2/2018. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/articles/jewelry-design-managed-process-warren-feld

Hector, Valerie. The Art of Beadwork. NY: Watson-Guptill Publications, 2005.

Kroeger, Andrew. Prevent Conflict By Knowing Your talent’s Needs, Expectations, and Assumptions. n.d. As referenced: https://leadthroughstrengths.com/prevent-conflict-knowing-talents-needs-expectations-assumptions/

Mausolf, Judy Kay. How To Avoid 4 Communication Pitfalls:
 Assumptions, Perceptions, Comparison Expectations and Commitments. Spring, 2014. As referenced:
 https://www.practicesolutionsinc.net/assets/docs/communication_pitfalls.pdf
 Progressive Dentist Magazine
 
 Mazumdar, Pravu. All Art is a Critique of Reality. About Critique. Interview with Pravu Mazumdar. Klimt 02, 6/25/18. As referenced:
 https://klimt02.net/forum/interviews/all-art-is-critique-reality-about-critique-interview-pravu-mazumdar-carolin-denter?utm_source=phplist908&utm_medium=email&utm_content=HTML&utm_campaign=Criticism+is+not+the+application+of+a+norm+to+judge+a+work%2C+but+a+mode+of+cooperation+with+the+art.+All+Art+is+a+Critique+of+Reality%2C+the+new+klimt02+interview+about+critics%2C+with+Pravu+Mazumdar…+and+much+more.+Klimt02+Newsletter+423

Murray, Kevin. US VERSUS THEM IN THE CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY WORLD, 06/18/2018. As Referenced:
 https://artjewelryforum.org/us-versus-them-in-the-contemporary-jewelry-world

Norbeck, Edward. Rite of Passage. As referenced:
 https://www.britannica.com/topic/rite-of-passage

Ravick, Joseph. The Role Of Assumptions, Perceptions And Expectations In Conflict, n.d. As referenced: https://adm.viu.ca/workplace-conflict/assumptions-perceptions-expectations

Saylor Academy. Understanding Culture, Chapter 2. 2012. As referenced:
 https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_leading-with-cultural-intelligence/s04-understanding-culture.html

Skinner, Damian. ALL THE WORLD OVER: THE GLOBAL AMBITIONS OF CONTEMPORARY JEWELRY. 6/15/12.

Schultz, Quentin. Servant Leadership Communication is Shared Understanding — Not Transmission, Influence, or Agreement. 9/25/17. As referenced:
 https://quentinschultze.com/communication-is-shared-understanding

Spool, Jared M. Attaining a Collaborative Shared Understanding. 7/3/18. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/@jmspool/attaining-a-collaborative-shared-understanding-dc70cf03f98f

ThoughtWorks Studios. “How do you develop a Shared Understanding on an Agile project? 2013. As referenced:
 http://info.thoughtworks.com/rs/thoughtworks2/images/twebook-developing-a-shared-understanding.pdf

Unumeri, Godwin Ogheneochuko. PERCEPTION AND CONFLICT. Lagos, Nigeria: National Open University of Nigeria, 2009. As referenced:
 https://nou.edu.ng/sites/default/files/2017-03/PCR%20276%20PERCEPTION%20%26%20CONFLICT_0.pdf

Verwijs, Christiaan. “Create shared understanding with ‘What, So What, Now What’ 8/4/2018. As referenced:
 https://medium.com/the-liberators/create-shared-understanding-with-what-so-what-now-what-6dda51d5bcf9

Vilajosana, Lluis Comin. Connotations and Contributions of the Maker: The Value of Jewels. 6/26/18.

Wiggins, Grant and Jay McTighe. Understanding by Design, 2nd Edition, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 2005.

Yusuf, Bulama. Understanding Shared Understanding: 5 Ways to Improve Shared Understanding in Software Teams. 12/8/2019. As referenced:
 https://dev.to/bulsyusuf/5-ways-to-improve-shared-understanding-in-software-teams-1f62

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