Investigating the Relationship between Problems and Solutions in Design: Insights from Frame Innovation
Ahmed Mohammed Sayed MOHAMMED, Yasuyuki HIRAI

Nowadays problems are considered more complicated, intersected and overlapped than before, which makes it essential for designers to change their conventional way of thinking and doing. Designers can change their way of thinking by a better understanding of the relationship between problems and solutions in design. This research examines this relationship through the role of the mediating factor that connects the problem space with the solution space. Then, different case studies done by different organizations and design studios have been analysed to propose a holistic view on how the relationship between problems and solutions in design works. The proposed relationship structure is based on KeesDorst’s framework of ‘Frame Innovation’. By viewing this relationship, designers can understand how to create different themes for solving design problems and they would also be able to translate those themes into wide range of solutions. This paper also points out four main elements that draws the relationship between problems and solutions in design. Those elements are ‘Problem Layers’, ‘Problem Context’, ‘Themes’ and ‘Solution Concept’. Three main findings were concluded from this research. The first finding is that designers need to know where exactly to build their stories. The second one is that the wider the problem context, the more themes designers have. The final finding is that themes are more related to the problem space than the solution space. By understanding the relationship between design problems and solutions, designers would navigate their way of thinking to make sure that the final outcome not only meets user's needs and desires, but also solves the core of the problem.

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