Design researcher/practitioner Don Norman just published this essay expressing the need for a discipline that “..can translate between the abstractions of research and the practicalities of practice” in design. I’ve written before about the fact that SociaLens is intentionally striving to address this gap. Here’s how Norman frames it:
“We need translational developers who can act as the intermediary, translating research findings into the language of practical development and business while also translating the needs of business into issues that researchers can address. Notice that the need for translation goes in both directions: from research to practice and from practice to research.
Translational developers are needed who can mine the insights of researchers and hone them into practical, reliable and useful results. Similarly translational developers must help translate the problems and concerns of practice into the clear, need-based statements that can drive researchers to develop new insights. Neither direction of translation is easy.”
Here’s the current SociaLens mission:
“..to develop, model and promote theories and practices that enable organizations to be good (credible, ethical, faithful, pleasing, proficient, worthy, competent, fit, dependable).”
..and we’ve definitely found that this translation between research and practice is not easy. But so far it has served us well, revealing insights on both sides that would not have been possible otherwise.