To see illustrations of the ideas discussed on this page, CLICK HERE. The factual settings include actuarial analysis, governance, database theory, regulatory advocacy, consumer loyalty, strategy and risk analysis, corporate finance, and other areas.
The Work of Design. Formulating any course of action by which existing states of affairs will become preferred states of affairs inherently requires design-thinking. Framing a strategy, structuring a transaction, allocating capital, developing a technology, persuading a regulator or court, creating a partner alliance, and scores of other activities envisage firms within new states of affairs that emerge from transitions. Whenever these transitions are underway, design-thinking is at work.
In the particular sense we use the term, design-thinking is a highly-nuanced cognitive activity. At the most fundamental level, it involves deftly relationalizing variables. Design sensibility is an aptitude for grasping implicit structures or patterns and understanding how to modify them in order to create a different, more evolved state of affairs. We describe these patterns as 'implicit' because their elements and relations are not easily illuminated and the principles of their interaction are often difficult to explain. Design-thinking has thus been viewed as having a strong intuitional component, akin to the exercise of exceptional judgment.
Under the challenges of complex environments, however, this view is becoming increasingly anachronistic and the need for an 'analytics of judgment' more and more pressing. To be effective, such an approach would rigorously explicate the nature of design-thinking and offer a methodology for magnifying its power systematically. We do this via Pragmatica, an ontology of commerce that leverages the formal machinery of mathematics and logic.
Aspects of Design-thinking. Business progress requires transitions from existing to projected states of affairs in which a firm is more enabled. By 'more enabled' we mean the firm within the projected space will have greater power to achieve its core purpose. Design-thinking is the intelligence of strong transitions.
In the Pragmatica framework, transitions are conceptualized as evolving patterns. There are several interrelated reasons for this. First, causalities are the fabric of transitions and causalities are patterns. Second, patterns are susceptible of mathematical and logical description. Third, most patterns can be rendered graphically and visualization is a key dimension in our approach.
Some aspects of our design-thinking include – Identifying the causal structures from which different stages of a transition will emerge; determining how a transition should be framed such that the projected state becomes increasingly probable as the transition unfolds; assessing and adjusting probabilities along the transition-path; ascertaining the degree of exactness different stages of a transition require in order to engage the abductive 'pull' of the next-sequent state; clarifying and absorbing the conceptual frameworks necessary to abide the causal conditions of the projected space; identifying the pattern-types that will count as evidence of objective facts and true beliefs concerning the nature of the transition environment; adapting structures from other domains to accelerate progress; magnifying the visibility of gestalts that ‘do not compute’ and may lead to trouble if ignored; generating multiple perspectives to enlarge objectivity and reduce the risk of bias; encoding measurability and computability within transition dynamics; and fashioning evidence-generating workflows.
Design Principles. Design activities are influenced by design principles. In our case, these substantially include the General Principles of Pragmatica.