May 01, 2020

Writing a Bachelor Thesis - Week Two

This note is part of a series, to learn more you can read the first note in this series or jump to my bachelor thesis exposé.

I'm structuring my work using the Double Diamond method. The Double Diamond is designed to work with uncertainty; its purpose is to work in a structured and predictable way on open-ended and difficult to define problems. To work in a Double Diamond way, you start with a brief and then work in four phases: Discover, Define, Develop, and Deliver.

Adapt the Atomic Design methodology to reduce the workload when creating and maintaining Design Systems which include code.

The name "Double Diamond" describes the visual representation of these four phases - to illustrate I added a sketch I made below. In "Discover" and "Develop" the goal is to expand. Try to find as many ways as possible to understand the problem or respectively to find as many ways as possible to solve the problem. During the phases "Define" and "Deliver" the opposite way of thinking is required: Reduce the problem statements to one problem or respectively, reduce the many possible solutions to one deliverable solution.

Graphical representation of the Double Diamond Process as described above.

What did I learn this week?


"The most valuable kind of information during the two diverging phases of the Double Diamond Method is what you did not know you did not know."
Source: "Discovering Principles for Design System Tools"

When diverging during Discovery, there are three kinds of information you might find:

  1. Known knowns
  2. Known unknowns
  3. Unknown unknowns

When you find something supporting your current hypothesis, you've discovered a known known. This is something you knew or assumed correctly to form your hypothesis. These findings are nice to have, but they don't help you expand and diverge in your problem statement. The opposite is a known unknown; it is information that contradicts parts of your hypothesis. Known unknowns show you where you thought you had knowledge but were wrong.

And finally, the most valuable kind of information you can find: Something you didn't know you didn't know. The Unknown unknown shows you a new and unexpected aspect – often this unknown unknowns is what leads to a new and creative solution.

As a designer what I'm looking for are the unknown unknowns, uncertainty is my most fertile working environment.


What happened this week?

I was able to conduct three formal and one informal interview and gather more data from other sources like keynotes and articles. Using Analysis and synthesis techniques I learned during my internship at Rolls-Royce Power Systems AG, I was able to analyse these interviews.