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6 October 2010

Ambiguity: a double edged sword

Location: Meeting Room 10, 2nd Floor, JLB
Time: 12:00pm - 13:45pm
Speaker(s): Dr Claudia Eckert - DDEM

Ambiguity is seen as one of the key mechanisms of creativity. However, the widespread belief that ambiguity is necessarily beneficial in design communication stems from conceptual confusion. Communicating imprecise, uncertain and provisional ideas is a vital part of design teamwork, but what is uncertain and provisional needs to be expressed as clearly as possible. Understanding what uncertainty information designers can and should communicate is critical to the success of projects. Sketches and other representations of designs can be both intrinsically ambiguous, and ambiguous or misleading by failing to convey information about uncertainty and provisionality. Even naming elements of a design can be ambiguous. The talk reports on the findings of case studies in engineering and knitwear companies and experiments on sources of inspiration in knitwear design and functional decomposition of engineering products. BIO: Claudia Eckert is a senior lecturer in Design in DDEM since 2008. Having conducted her doctoral research on communication in knitwear industry, she spend nearly ten years in the engineering design centre studying design processes and process management tools in complex engineering companies. Her research interests include comparisons between different design domains, design creativity, the role of models of products and process and engineering change.

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Contact: mailto:r.power@open.ac.uk