The Importance of Being Hypothetical

After having an interactive presentation with James McAughey, he left me with an interesting tool to use when thinking about my work – hypothesising. 

how-to-write-a-hypothesis-part-1-e28093-prepare-for-writing

 

This was all based on George Kelly’s idea of the ‘as if’ philosophy. Basically, this principle allows one to essentially try out different hypotheses or ideas by treating them ‘as if’ they were real or in the past.

The application of this philosophy in product design could mean that projects don’t stop before they even start. Instead of thinking, ‘no this idea isn’t possible because [insert argument]’, by placing the product in the past as if it has already been made and been distributed the designer can instead think, ‘that product was really successful because it solved [some problem], BUT there was an issue in that [some disastrous fault] happened’.

By imagining the product as if it already exists, the designer can analyse potential risks and problems before the project has even begun. It is a useful, if rather unorthodox, exercise in hypothesisation and can help during initial project stages to prevent being stuck in a rut.

I think that the technique would allow a more childlike approach to design, as we discussed during our presentation. Our imaginations did not used to be limited as they are in adulthood with logic or engineering knowledge. Instead, we imagined something we wanted and it existed in our minds. The possibilities were endless.

Being fearless in your own imagination harms nothing. It is something entirely unique to each person, and by limiting this, each individual becomes closer to being like everyone else – closer to uniformity. Such all-encompassing uniformity would surely and truly be the end of innovation in the future, and ‘unsolvable’ problems would truly never be solved. For me, impossibility is relative to the technology that exists.

Many things really are impossible – right now. However, imagine if next year a new battery was to be developed that could power a car and and was the size of a grain of rice. In this case, I would be inclined to venture that many impossible scenarios would suddenly cease to be so.

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