For research work that aims to foster innovation, creative design is just mandatory. Without it there are no effective solutions that go beyond avoiding the undesirable. Without it, I dare you to find solutions to wicked problems – without creative design there is no epiphany, you would only be left with linear research protocol. Good luck.
Design has made too many compromises to fit within the formal research culture of HCI, which has a strong legacy of engineering practice; this is unfortunate, design holds a rigor and professional discipline that is just as grounded and valuable. It’s simply shameful that an HCI researcher can claim holy glory when something novel is unveiled (with the inevitable help of creative design), but then feel the need to cover all traces with tons of data to highlight epistemological legitimacy. Of course, that is also the result of proving the effectiveness of the outcome, but the existence of data should not obscure the design process. We need to change our culture of evaluation, and give room to creative design as a form of research practice. But all of this is just talk. How do we really change this?
“Creative design should be acknowledged as the professional practice it is. Only then will we as a community be able to overcome the caricatures of the designer’s unbounded leaps of creative fancy and the engineer’s painstaking over-reliance on logic and empirical validation.”