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Complexity and Design

Jay Cross makes an interesting observation on complexity, the new meme on the block: "Why has complexity become my recurring obsession? Perhaps because complexity challenges the bedrock of Isaac Newton, rationality, cause and effect, an ordered universe, and faith in logic. The worldview I believed in for the first fifty years of my life does not explain the world I live in today. Some things will never be figured out. Prayer does not assure salvation. Anything could happen. The world defies logic. Shit happens." It is true that the life has become complex; this could be its natural emergent evolution. But dealing with complexity is not the human brain's natural ability; that's the reason why we strive so hard to make things simple. This introduces an interesting paradox: to make things simple we need to know more. Consider product design. To make simple products designers not only need to know more about the product itself, but also about the users who are going to use the product and the context under which they will be using it (the familiar users, context, product Venn diagram). This is true for all design fields (or any field trying to understand complexity). This is why I think that "Design Research" will soon be the new meme on the block.

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