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UC San Diego Aims To Become A Leader In Using Design To Solve Problems

Photo caption: Don Norman in an undated photo

Photo by Erik Jepsen

Don Norman in an undated photo

UC San Diego Aims To Become A Leader In Using Design To Solve Problems


Don Norman, director, UC San Diego Design Lab


UC San Diego scientist Don Norman is trying to turn the region into a hub for "design thinking." That’s the concept of making things that are intuitive to use, even if they’re not flashy or sleek.

Norman founded UCSD’s Department of Cognitive Science before leaving in the early 1990s to apply design thinking at Apple. He also worked at Hewlett-Packard before returning to academia.

He returned to UCSD in 2014 to lead its Design Lab, which is aimed at training college and graduate students, along with industry leaders, in his methods.

“We’re going to work on complex problems, not designing products or services,” Norman said. “We don’t teach problem solving, we teach problem finding. We teach people to watch and find where others have problems in their lives.”

Norman’s lab recently hosted a design summit to connect designers with companies that might benefit from their work. He pointed to Inuit, the makers of TurboTax software, as one of the few local companies that understands design thinking.

Norman joins KPBS Midday Edition Monday with more on how he’s applying design thinking to things such as health care and self-driving cars.

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