Is Meta the future of design?
In a world that’s not predictable, improvisation, change, and innovation are more than just an option: they’re necessary. The design challenge isn’t about eliminating the unpredictable instead of embracing it as an opportunity to develop more imaginative and better solutions to the problems.
Meta-design is a new conceptual framework that aims at defining and establishing social and technological infrastructures where new kinds of collaboration are possible. It extends the notion of design for systems beyond the initial development of a system and includes the co-adaptive process of users and the system that allows users to become designers or developers as well. It is based on the fundamental assumption that future applications and issues cannot be fully planned at the time of design, when a system is designed. The users, when they use the system will notice gaps in their requirements and the support provided by the existing system offer them. These gaps will cause problems that could be sources of insights, knowledge, and a new understanding. The chapter is organized in four sections that include conceptual frameworks and applications, environments and results and challenges. In chapters, we examine and analyze the most important elements of meta-design.
We provide guidelines, specifications and models to guide the future of user design:
The relationship between meta-design and other design methods;
The Seeding, Evolutionary Growth, Reseeding Model as a model that can be used to analyze large-scale evolving design elements;
The characteristics of non-conscious design cultures with their strengths and shortcomings, as well as the need for the owners of issues to be empowered to participate in the process of development for end-users
The possibilities of meta-design that can enable co-creation also
The necessity for an integrated design environment that combines a technical infrastructure that can evolve, for the creation of workplaces and learning environments which allow users to become active participants, and to design environments that allow users to connect, gain incentives and rewards and accumulate social capital.
It’s a part of knowing how to be a true meta-designer. It’s true that a lot of it could be described as being a smart creative, resourceful, and proactive design leader. To a degree it is crucial! However, it’s about reframing your actions and perspectives in a way that creates a fertile ground for challengers and peers from different teams or departments.
In this sense the primary guidelines for meta-designers could be as follows:
Reflection in action:
The consideration of relationships inferred from the past and their potential implications in the process of creating. This is made more difficult by the rapid-fire demands to deliver products with little time for reflection. This is an “ship immediately” mindset of speeding up and breaking things for the desire of vanity metrics or the need to earn money from investors. But such reflection could result in benefits for the people their professional development) as well as employees’ habits to be a leader as well as the product itself. Are we making the right product for the right people and for the proper motives?
Strategic thinking ahead:
Thinking about connections between an organization’s various tasks, actions and results. This can be made more difficult by siloed, globally dispersed teams, or the absence of genuine collaboration and situations that are honest about dependencies, which can cause a disastrous convergence, or even a dire discord. No one wants to be surprised after a long trip; recognizing connections (or their absence) can prevent this from happening, by preparing teams to establish appropriate processes and possibly have important “intervention” times prior to things getting chaotic.
Providing an enlightened vocabulary based on critical lenses and a depth of analysis on issues. This is a major challenge to the rapid-fire pace of technology-related talk designed for speedy communication (thanks speedy deadlines for delivery!) packed with internal jargons as well as acronyms and clichéd or even sexist descriptions of clients, with no willingness to question their motives. However, they are enriching the daily conversation with words that express an eagerness to dig into the depths of complexity, created by genuine curiosity that could cause our eyes to widen and sharpen our thinking slightly.
Provocation through creativity:
Using ideas that are both speculative and radical to ignite debates that are risky and open up new perspectives. This is completely contrary to efforts to ensure security, reliability, and effectiveness of output production, but is crucial to the vitality of any business that believes in human-centered innovative thinking! To provoke is to test the existing/mainstay, and generate alternative concepts that stretch the boundaries of risk that is acceptable. However, that’s not always the reason we continue to insist that we “change existing circumstances into more desirable situations,” as Herb Simon described design’s primary characteristic.
These principles form the basis of the actions that define the meta-designer’s work in practice:
Develop critical thinking, questioning and debate about the design process, the culture, systems and values as interdependent and dynamically impacting components.
Create, interpret and apply frameworks , models, or frameworks of thought to address these questions. This will necessarily require quite a bit of mapping/diagramming/storytelling, as it’s abstract and needs to somehow become more concrete to engage with non-design peers, help them be active in the meta-designing–and hopefully see the utility of the outcomes.
Create integrative design systems that are both physical and cultural:
The source and development, the application and adoption of them are the most important aspects. This requires creating designs for several teams (again and often hidden within silos) and to have that crossover-functional vibe, as well as total visibility across all teams. This can foster the trust of each other and team cohesion.
Are adApt at lifecycles:
Ecosystems and platforms and journeys with a distinctly humanistic outlook in asking how can human values be defended and embraced from beginning to end, over the perspectives and routes? This is vital as we move forward into an automated future of optimizing efficiency in the system. Humans are messy and their values are fuzzier than cutting clouds out of cubes! How to deal with this humanistic confusion while preserving fundamental human values and desires is essential and should not be compromised while systems and business structures are being designed.
Critically and robustly tackle :
The political/social/ethical aspects of business and technology; it’s a key aspect of advocating humanist values in thought and practice. It’s not enough just to create something worthwhile; things (and the process and culture which supports it) should be respectful and welcoming of others and not cause harm or create the potential for destruction and abuse. For example, a user on Twitter suggested that teams should create an Black Mirror episode for their product. The idea was to tell the story of the worst abuse possible and then move forward to avoid it taking place. Always asking questions, raising that red flag, pointing out… Well it’s not really an issue in the sense of opposition however, it’s the runaway train of speedy delivery to meet metrics.
Meta-designing is a new way of Designing:
Meta-designing, in this way, may be the new major new frontier in design practice filled with a strategic appreciation of intellectualism and humanism that are essential elements in order to transform design thinking and user experience, customer experience more than just an ingredient list to create an “successful company.” What are you going to do to further this idea? It’s certainly not a simple and elusive idea to think about but it doesn’t mean it’sn’t viable or useful.