UROP Mentor: Audrey G. Bennett, M.F.A.

UROP Research Team:

  • Zahra Makim
  • Aaron Von Bargen

What is your research project?: 

Wicked Solutions Domain (WSDOM)

WSDOM nurtures the changing nature of creative problem-solving. The act of problem-solving in design has evolved from a lone designer conceptually facing down challenges afforded by the blank canvas of the printed page to designers engaging collaboratively with lay communities to address complex human challenges within built, natural, and socio-cultural environments.

What are the goals of your research project?

Wicked Solutions Domain (WSDOM) is a scholarly platform for the sharing of evidence-based design outcomes between lay communities and professionals who are grappling with wicked problems in their lives and research respectively.

Why is this research important?

U-M’s University Diversity and Social Transformation Professor Audrey Bennett conceived of Wicked Solutions Domain (WSDOM), a multimodal, interactive platform, to address this question. The platform is designed collaboratively with a multi-disciplinary and cross-cultural team of stakeholders to share evidence-based design outcomes between lay communities and professionals who are grappling with wicked problems in their daily lives and research respectively.

What drives you to conduct this research?

Too many times, design stakeholders engage in wasteful designing, unknowingly re-innovating what already exists or failed previously; or they lack the resources needed to derive novel and evidence-based solutions that can reverse a perennial problem. How might we equip designers and communities working within spaces of oppression and life-threatening challenges with the “wisdom” of a global network and the knowledge needed to conceptualize and implement solutions that take a bigger bite out of the wicked problem?

Is there a Call to Action you would like to encourage?

Within society at large, one finds diverse stakeholders grappling with confounding and perennial socio-cultural challenges like the inequities in economic and environmental sustenance, housing, food security, education, and healthcare experienced by underserved communities around the world. The question is: How are top-down and bottom-up design resources being deployed to address these inequities? Where should designers intervene in the system to make the most impact towards solving a wicked problem?

What resources would you recommend to learn more about your research topic?

desigwsdom.com is the forthcoming domain where our audiences can learn more about this research project.

I will be posting more about the project via desislab.io and baohouse.org shortly.