This is the second part of Experimenting with Concepts Related to Theoria and Praxis, focusing this week upon the definition of Praxis System. See part one with an emphasis upon Theoria definitions here
A set of connected things, or parts forming a complex whole in particular. Sometimes these sets will be comprised of other subsystems.
Examples of systems: This praxis diagram is a system. A SWOT analysis is a system. A bubble diagram is a system.
A method is a process of doing something systematically through an orderly arrangement of specific techniques. Each method has a process. They are concerned with the “how”, defining “when” things happen, and describe the desired order. Design methods, research methods, and planning methods may have little or nothing to do with each other due to their very distinct natures.
Examples of methods: Interviews, Direct Behavior Rating (DBR), Geospatial Analysis, Visual Preference Surveys (VPS), Cluster Analysis, Post Occupancy Evaluations / Case Studies, Community Facilitation, Focus Groups, SWOT Analysis.
“A course or principle of action”, but usually one officially approved by a consensus or a body in charge or influential to the decision-making process. Policies are usually externally imposed over the project either by the firm, a client or a reviewing agency. Unlike design and planning guidelines, these are mandatory in the design practice, and must be met in order for the project to move on.
Examples of policies: All construction documents will be subject to a QA/QC review by the project manager and lead designer. All streetscape vegetation should be maintenance-free in terms of watering and pruning.
A proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief, behavior, or a chain of reasoning. Principles are self-imposed “policies” derived from research, and the approach that the project is taking. Principles are helpful to establish because they help during the decision-making process towards better results.
Examples of principles: Use clear and culturally-inclusive graphic design. Maintain neutral and objective stance language while composing of the document.
A naturally occurring or designed sequence of operations or events over time which produce desired outcomes. Processes contain a series of actions, events, mechanism, or steps containing methods. Processes are everywhere before, during, and after the development of the project, but they become primarily important during the execution of a task. A process is influenced by principles, techniques, and by technology.
Examples of processes: Rendering, post-production, modeling, data-building.
An established or official way of doing something. Procedures are external imposition, rigid with little flexibility.
Examples of procedures: Submitting documents to project box in proper format to a specific folder, using special log-in credentials. Reviewing and redlining plans digitally using Adobe Acrobat, sending them via e-mail, always cc’ing project managers.
A plan formulated towards the achievement of a major end, directly related and subordinated to the approach. It is usually written in the form of particular actions.
Examples of strategies: Obtain public approval and a positive perception of the project from the community. Treat the project as a regional pilot case by documenting research and design decisions.
A carefully planned action to achieve a specific end. Altogether, these clear and realistic activities help to accomplish goals, objectives, and strategies.
Examples of tactics: Incorporate input from key stakeholders during the schematic design phases through in-person interviews. Compile design guidelines from pertinent literature such as books, journals, articles and other professional works.
The assumed function or part played by a person/thing in relation to a particular situation.
Examples of roles: Drafter, community facilitator, plan checker, designer, visual artist.
A piece of work to be done or undertaken, usually in the form an activity.
Examples of tasks: Uploading a file, prepare meeting materials, draft a conceptual plan.
A device or implement used to carry out a particular function. Tools take a neutral stance in the project and they do not necessarily aim to be a key element during its development. A tool can just be a means to complete a task, whereas the method is a mean to fulfill a goal or strategy. These are subordinated to the task, varying in their nature: objects, media, computer programs, etc.
Examples of tools: Markers, websites, social media, presentation slides, boards, posters, invitations, tables, diagrams.
The knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like or the embed of such in machines
Examples of technologies: Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Real-Time Rendering, Building Information Modeling, Geo-positioning, a total station, a drone, a 3d printer.
A way of carrying out a particular task, especially the execution/performance of an artistic work or a scientific procedure. Sometimes research and design techniques can be adopted from previous experiments or projects, adopting and/or adapting such workflow into the process.
Examples of techniques: A very ‘visual’ presentation, hand-drawn sketches instead of computer diagrams, parametric modeling, a macro-based workflow as in PowerPoint or Photoshop.
A manner of doing something. Design or make in a particular form.
Examples of styles: Formal formatting, minimalistic graphics, ‘sketchy’ finishing, photo filters and effects, photorealism, themes, color palettes, imitation of artistic currents.