Yao Tian

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TIAN Yao, Yolanda was born in northern China. After graduation from the Academy of Arts in Nationality University in Beijing, she worked as an E-zine designer in China Film Press based on her major graphic design at the time when the interactive magazine had just emerged in China. Then she got her master degree of Multimedia and Entertainment technology in School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University. During the time in PolyU, her interest and passion of researching design thinking process have been ignited through several projects on interactive design, user experience, as well as business management. After one-year working in Sino United Publishing (Holdings) Limited, HK, here, she came back to PolyU, as a new PhD student.

Research Title
Finding and Broken Links in the Design Thinking Process in Chinese Designs through Systematic and Culture Based Innovation

Dr. Sandy Ng (Chief Supervisor)
Prof. Ilpo Koskinen (External Co-supervisor)

About the Research
The missing links in the design thinking process and the reasons for inertial thinking will give clear picture of the problems of facing design educators in China. In the meantime, it will also contribute to the field of design by positioning Chinese design in the right spectrum of international design research community so that distances between design research in China and that in overseas can be shortened. The philosophical, psychological, and cultural consequences of inertial thinking will also give lessons to the design students. The missing links in the creative design thinking process to be demonstrated in this project will form a basis for substantial research and design practice driven by systematic and culture based innovations.

This research emphasizes to reject the dross of current designing with inertial thinking, assimilate the essence of advanced methods emerging from the international design research community. One of the ways in which this can be achieved is to take a cultural and historic approach by looking into the positive and innovative thinking embedded in the cultural heritage. Such an approach has to be taken with the views of evolving social and economic development in which new generations of people, both as designers or customers are confused by all kinds of materialized life styles and behaviors.

Inertial thinking denotes the thinking manner of those who habitually follow the ideas of others of past and present, which undermines the ability of designers for creation and innovation. This kind of thinking mode was deeply rooted in Chinese design community where lacking of new concepts and imitating of successful projects of others are commonly accepted. That is the reason why ‘Made in China’ still maintained its dominating role in the Chinese economy, whilst the hope of “Designed in China” as a national glory is still far away. This problem will lead to more designs which are made with low prices and cheap labors. There is an urgent need to trace the origins of failure in the century old way of inertial thinking in design and identify the ways to overcome it.