Guide a Design Research Process

Index Skills
August 27, 2014
Guide a Design Development Process
August 27, 2014

Guide a Design Research Process


In the Spring of 2014, a student design team working with Scott Boylston in the Savannah College of Art and Design, Design for Sustainability program used the Social Design Pathways as a reference guide, to calibrate their efforts throughout the design process.
Initial Brainstorm

During their initial brainstorming session, the team used the Social Design Pathway to organize their ideas – categorizing and then charting them in relation to one another.

What the Hub Could Do

Following this charting exercise, they selected their vehicle to stimulate Savannah’s green economy – a Green Economy Hub.

Identifying the Steps

Next the design team used the SDP to explore what the Hub could accomplish in Savannah. This time they used the resulting chart to identify four steps that were critical to establishing a successful eco-Hub: a community needs assessment, criteria to evaluate potential Hub partnerships, a programmatic focus for the Hub, and terms of agreement.

Identifying the Steps

From there, the team developed specific products and tools that would need to support/drive these four projects, this time charting them to the SDP to clarify what kind of teams would be necessary to realize each project.

Next Steps

Finally, they charted their next steps to the SDP, which represents the completion of a full cycle. The ‘next steps’ they defined were shared with numerous community partners, as well as another SCAD class.


The second class considered the potentials that these recommendations implied, and immersed themselves in the next cycle of development. The tool provided a succinct history of conceptual development that allowed the second class to immerse itself quickly. This second class used the SDP in similar fashion as the first. And yet another class will pick up the mantle in the Fall of 2014.

At each stage of the design process the team used the Social Design Pathways to assist them think more deeply and more systematically about the decisions at hand.