This paper aims to draw links between the circularity of second‐order cybernetics, and constructive, reflective conversations with oneself in design practice. The paper argues that a structured use of internal conversational dialogues with oneself can assist the design process, enhancing creativity and transformative approaches to design projects.
Theories about the emergence of new knowledge, and the causal nature of internal conversations, are used to present a case for the value of a structured self‐reflective conversational process in designing. Emergent knowledge is described in terms of flows across domains of public and personal knowledge, through dynamic processes of semantic absorption, codification and diffusion. The structure and agency of the internal conversation are discussed as a practical way to interpret and locate the emergence of project directions, as a kind of meta‐language for design production. This is demonstrated through an action research case study, where an internal dialogue about teaching visual communication design is described.
On the basis of the action research described, the use of a structured internal dialogue can be of benefit to designing, as it provides a mechanism for locating and mapping the flows and developments of emergent semantic concepts and design project directions.
The model for internal conversations is a way for designers to acknowledge their dual role as both participant (“subject” self) and observer (“object” self). The paper argues that this can help in locating oneself within a design process.
This paper contributes to the debate about knowledge of design and for design. A constructive conversational model is presented, which acknowledges the significant role of experiential, cultural and semantic contexts in framing emerging knowledge for designing.
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