Chris Pacione, director of BodyMedia, gave a guest lecture in our Seminar 2 class on Monday.

He defined interaction design as posing a different question: not thinking about the object, but the situations. Nothing new for us at this point.

However, he proffered Design be taught as a grade school subject, equal to Math, English, Art, and Sciences. He argued that design thinking should be taught so that it becomes part of the fundamentals in our lives.

This produced questions from the class regarding the seeming innate ability designers have to synthesize, and whether this can actually be taught.

This sort of question seems to surface often when talking about design thinking and teaching design thinking. Some have even suggested that we are not taught design thinking at CMU, but rather we arrive with it.

I’m not sure where I stand. I admit it’s uncomfortable to hear about design becoming so pervasive that the role of the designer becomes unclear or perhaps unnecessary. Naturally, I like to believe I have some special ability. And I’m sure it’s hard for all us students to embrace the rest of the world learning what we know when we’re paying tens of thousands.

Pacione equated design thinking to creative problem solving. I do recall a few teachers in grade school or perhaps some after complaining that students are not taught how to think. What makes design thinking different from thinking?

We talked a bit about the shifts in design. For example, I made an observation from all the papers I’ve been reading that HCI seems to be moving more toward the ways of design that we are being taught. I wonder if this means they will converge. Or will design keep ahead?

As for the future of design, Pacione predicts we will move from designing situated experiences to designing solutions, which he referred to as intradisciplinary design. This might be seen as design as culture—approaching problems as a designer—or design as philosophy of the way things get made.

Perhaps there is evidence of this already with business seeming to embrace design as a means to innovation.