How do we design for divergence & diversity if convergence is the goal?

I’m about to start a new project and I’m fairly sure that one condition is we work to the design thinking concept known as Double Diamond.

It was developed by the Design Council in the UK as a way of helping companies think about design in their product development processes.

Divergence but always converge

The problem I have with it is it models a form of Normality. You can diverge but, in the end, you must converge.

All those convergence points at the tips of those diamonds.

This comes up in other models too. Design Thinking is willing to allow for disruption and divergence in controlled and delimited moments. Design Sprints have divergence periods with games like Crazy Eights. Yet they follow this convergence. That breadth of ideas must be constricted.

  • Divergence is unattractive.
  • Convergence is normal.
  • Divergence must be discarded.

Post Normal Design

I’m doing a talk on Post Normal Design this week at UX Live in London. One of the themes is not just averaging and converging because it’s what everyone has always done before.

This diagram is just a reaction to the Double Diamond I drew today.

It’s about validating divergence and capturing it.

Yes, there is a convergence to design a product that meets identified user needs. Yes, there are constraints around what can be made.

However, divergence is recognised through the process.

Divergence is explicit.

Needs or features that could not be fitted into the current solution are still shown.

Thus means there are stepping off points for future products.

Divergence is enabled over time. Each generation of design provides the basis for the next.

Ideas diverge over time. Products meet more and more needs over time as they are not trapped by convergence.

Post-Normal Design is exciting because it expands and extends as we recognise more about the diversity of humanity.