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Controversial design space mapping

Design space mapping is widely used in cognition studies to trace ideation activity through a series of mental states. Controversial design space mapping expands this method with the friction generated by the clash of ideas coming from different minds. Each idea is classified as a problem (dark circle) or a solution (white square). A color code can be used as the third category of analysis. The direction reflects the dialectical logics of the design space. A solution addresses a problem, yet a problem may also addresses another problem.

The following example is a map of the controversy around COVID-19 design responses, grouped by the four orders of design (Buchanan).


Van Amstel, Frederick M.C.; Guimarães, Cayley; Botter, Fernanda. (2021). Prospecting a systemic design space for pandemic responses. Strategic Design Research Journal, 14(1), pp.66-80. DOI:

Categories: Methods & Tools.

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