Prototyping: Facing uncertainty through small wins

Elizabeth Gerber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Design is a learning process in which new knowledge is constructed and used to shape the environment in ways that did not previously exist. Because design is about creating that which does not yet exist, when individuals engage in the design process, they face uncertainty about final outcomes. Drawing on psychological research, this paper presents a grounded theory to explain how the practice of low-fidelity prototyping allows practitioners to remain committed to the design process despite uncertainty about final outcomes. When enacting the low-fidelity prototyping practice, practitioners break larger tasks into modest size tasks. Modest size tasks allow practitioners to take frequent action. By taking frequent action on manageable tasks, practitioners experience small wins by observing their impact and attributing success to their actions. Through a series of small wins, they attribute the positive effects to self-action and reduce anxiety of failure and increase a sense of perceived control. This sense of perceived control allows them to remain committed to the design process despite the uncertainty of the outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDS 58-9
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design
Pages333-342
Number of pages10
StatePublished - Dec 1 2009
Event17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 09 - Palo Alto, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 24 2009Aug 27 2009

Publication series

NameDS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design
Volume9

Other

Other17th International Conference on Engineering Design, ICED 09
CountryUnited States
CityPalo Alto, CA
Period8/24/098/27/09

Keywords

  • Design work
  • Human behavior
  • Low-fidelity
  • Prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Modeling and Simulation

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    Gerber, E. (2009). Prototyping: Facing uncertainty through small wins. In DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design (pp. 333-342). (DS 58-9: Proceedings of ICED 09, the 17th International Conference on Engineering Design; Vol. 9).