The 6C Model: The Contribution of Design to Open, Complex Problem Solving

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikel


This article investigates the contribution of design in addressing, investigating, and providing answers to
complex, open challenges. Based on a case study in which seventy third semester design students worked for seven weeks
on a complex challenge posed by an external organization, design students, teachers, and clients reflect on what abilities
the designer must possess in order to be able to promote transformation. The study is informed by the 6C Model, a theory
describing the types of knowledge production taking place in design processes, and by the Co-creation Cards, a
collection of methods translating knowledge production into practical approaches. Design students from six design
disciplines explore a regional challenge posed by the local official tourist organization: The City of Aarhus is the
European Capital of Culture 2017—how can the entire region, including nineteen municipalities, some in the fringe
areas of Denmark, be included in the yearlong event? Empirical data from the case study includes individual student
evaluations, the registration of student processes, and interviews with the students, the teachers of the program, and the
clients. Findings indicate that knowledge production in the form of research into existing and future circumstances,
looking at the situation from inside and from outside, combined with strong visualization skills are distinctive and
invaluable as a driver for transformation processes across disciplines. They also enable the inclusion of stakeholders. In
addition, the ability to collaborate, to contain uncertainty, to stay open, and to recognize and switch between dichotomies
appears to be pivotal to the quality of the process and the outcome.
TidsskriftThe International Journal of Design in Society
Vol/bindVolume 10
Udgave nummerIssue 3
Sider (fra-til)13-30
Antal sider21
StatusUdgivet - 2 aug. 2016

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