Recently, I read an interesting article about liminal thinking. Here is the link to the original link to that article: http://alistapart.com/article/liminal-thinking
Liminal thinking is the process of generating change by understanding, empathizing, and reframing beliefs. According to additional research, the word liminal comes from a Latin root that means threshold. A threshold is a doorway or the opportunity of every inexperienced journey. A threshold is a reflection point that marks the transition between one current state and another desired state. Therefore, liminal thinking is the process of discovering and utilizing thresholds to create change.
The following ideas and principles have a foundation in psychology. There is the conscience and unconscious mind. An individual can often make a conscience choice to not partake of a substance, for example, only to fall back into old habits caused by the unconscious mind. Additionally, learned behavior such as rewards or punishments are hardwired into our existences. To escape these presets, we must change our beliefs which can change our behaviors and eventually change our lives. Therefore, to escape our learned behavior and habitational spiraling, we must extend ourselves as individuals to continuously examine and reevaluate our fundamental beliefs and bias as we attempt to empathize and improve our relationships.
As designers, these ideas and concepts are important for various reasons. As professional designers, we will often have to work on teams and communicate effectively with clients, various users, managers, and so on. We must also continue to redefine our beliefs and bias to empathize with and create insights for the individuals we are designing for, so that they can affectively use our products and websites.
Many of the concepts and ideas of this article resemble those in Pablo’s design theory and strategy classes. In design strategy, we learned insights were not supposed to be obvious. If your insights are obvious, then more research is needed to discover true insight because there is no differentiation from your product to existing ones if there is no original concept or belief to build upon. Usually when thinking something is obvious, that is an idea that’s an idea that needs further examination.
In design theory, we learned diagrams are abstract machines, which are neither organic nor mechanical. The purpose of diagrams is to explain and uncover patterns in relationships. The article used diagrams and the practice of triangulation to alter reality into separate layers from various perspectives and theories to gain insight and perceive the situation another way.
Thought-out design classes, the importance of ideation has proven evident. When designing, we should create as many theories, ideas, and processes as you can, including the ones deemed impossible or outright bad because they may generate other possible ideas. However, don’t get too attached to any one of them because then you may block out other possibilities. As designers, we must take what is known, and do further investigation to inform our designs. Otherwise, we are simply imitating what has already been done.
I also thought it was interesting point that we should be able to objectively disprove a theory for a theory to mean anything as demonstrated by Karl Popper’s quote “A theory that explains everything, explains nothing”.