Design Thinking for Writing Professionals
Native to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Dr. Jason Tham is an Assistant Professor of Technical Communication and Rhetoric at Texas Tech University. Prior to working in Texas, Jason lived in Minnesota for 10 years while completing his degrees. Now, Jason teaches user experience research, information design, and digital rhetoric while doing research in technical communication practices, pedagogy, and technology. He is especially interested in how “design thinking” can help bring about meaningful disruptions to the modern workplace and higher education. In his most recent book, Design Thinking in Technical Communication, Jason unpacks the relationship between design-centric methods for strategic problem solving, collaboration, teaching and learning, and socially responsive innovation. With Joe Moses of the University of Minnesota, he co-authored the Collaborative Writing Playbook (link to come), which provides a flexible framework for instructors who assign team based projects using design thinking attributes.
Dr. Tham will share some of his research and conclusions from his newly published book, which has become essential reading for instructors, students, and practitioners who want to apply principles of usability and user-centered design to their technical communication processes and deliverables.
In his book, he argues that design thinking should be a core methodology and mindset for technical communicators. Thinking like a designer means taking a “radical collaborative” approach––an attribute of design thinking––in college education, research training, and professional development. We'll start at the beginning with a definition of design thinking and its meaning for technical communication contexts, including some of the history and places where it is currently in use in the workplace and in training circles.
In this episode of Room 42 we discuss how applying some attributes of design thinking like "empathy" and "radical collaboration" can make us all better technical communicators.
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