About RAD

We envision a world where the research process is understood as a vibrant, creative, social endeavor, not just an analytical one. We believe design thinking can provide an explicit process to support and teach innovation and a language for multidisciplinary teams to conduct research in a shared process.

As researchers attempt to address pressing real-world challenges, their reliance on implicit disciplinary research paradigms and practices becomes insufficient, creating the need for a common communication and innovation process across disciplines. Design thinking offers an exciting opportunity to meet that need with its explicit process and methods.

One of the most powerful features of design thinking is that it makes the process behind innovation explicit and accessible. In contrast, in scientific research, the creative process is rarely discussed. As teams and research centers increasingly collaborate across intellectual spaces and traditional disciplines, the typical reliance on shared, implicit understandings of what research means to different people and how it should naturally proceed has become more challenging. With its common process for innovation and proven methods for teaching that process, design thinking holds great potential as a common means of communication between disparate research traditions.

We believe that bringing design thinking into the research process has the potential to transform what it means to “do research” at multiple scales and career stages. Scientific and scholarly research requires not only analytical rigor, but also creative mindsets that are rarely part of graduate student training. Innovative researchers must not only solve problems, but first identify significant new challenges and subsequently design new methods to solve the problems they find. Increasingly, they do this work in multidisciplinary team and are encouraged to work on applied, real-world issues. Thus researchers find themselves working in dynamic environments that require the same innovation that design thinking has facilitated in other contexts.

The Research as Design project aims to shed light on a poorly understood application of design thinking: scientific and scholarly research. At the same time, we are seeking to explore how working at the intersection of these two methodologies can increase our understanding of each. This blog serves as key tool in our exploration, a place for the core team to document reflections from our individual and group research, for invited guest contributors to contribute their thoughts, and for a wider conversation to occur.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: