What I Discovered in a Design School That Many in Computing Don't Know: - And Some May Not Accept

Gilbert Cockton*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


In this keynote address I will contrast the residue of structured methods in Software Engineering, (not yet fully purged by agile practices) with the realities of creative design work (as evidenced in a half century of consistent empirical research). Examples of this residue, which obstructs innovation, include sequence, separated poorly interfaced phases, closed windows, premature over specification, and prioritising procedure over design quality. Creative studio-based practices avoid these by coalescing concurrent unique progressions of design work that deliver unexpected innovations through generous creative confidence. Despite continuous empirical confirmation of the effectiveness of lightly managed creative practices, they remain unattractive within engineering fields that value control, measurement, systematic rigour, certainty, and predictability of outcomes and resources. A reluctance to relax on these values and accept trust, vision, opportunistic confidence, uncertainty, and unpredictability is understandable. Despite the highly creative insights and framings that underpin outstanding science and engineering work, scientific values focus more on validation than on conception and imagination. We need to complement scientific and engineering values with proven studio-based creative practices. This involves accepting multi-perspective concurrent engineering practices that are progressed by strategic vision, continuous connections across perspectives, critical reflection, and systematic tracking of the status of design work. In this keynote summary, I briefly introduce key aspects of both concurrent unique progressions of design work and the exercise of generous creative confidence, supported by examples of novel worth-focused approaches and resources that can support strategic creative approaches to innovation for interactive digital artefacts.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIHC 2022
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 21st Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems
EditorsKamila Rios da Hora Rodrigues, Renan Vinicius Aranha, Ticianne de Gois Ribeiro Darin
Place of PublicationNew York, US
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9781450395069
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 Oct 2022
Event21st Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems, IHC 2022 - Diamantina, Brazil
Duration: 17 Oct 202221 Oct 2022

Publication series

NameInternational Conference Proceedings Series
Publisher(ACM) Association for Computing Machinery


Conference21st Brazilian Symposium on Human Factors in Computing Systems, IHC 2022


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