• The bridge model is a specific
instance of the SECI model.
• Rotating the SECI model 90
aligns it with the bridge model—
so that they both “begin” in the
lower left corner.
January + February 2011
thesis bridge model does not refer
to iteration directly, though the
authors assume readers understand
the design process as iterative.
However, the Kaiser/IDEO model,
which is isomorphic to the analysis-synthesis bridge model, includes
a loop. And Kumar’s innovation
model, which is also isomorphic,
does explicitly include a spiral!
The SECI model is just one part
of Nonaka’s theory of knowledge
creation, which also comprises Ba
and dialectic. Ba is a shared “place”
or context—loosely bounded and
evolving—that “enables a dialectic
process among the actors.”
“A firm can be viewed as an
organic configuration of various
Ba, where people interact with each
other and the environment based
on the knowledge they have and the
meaning they create.” This notion
is similar to the Geogeghan and
Pangaro notion that a firm is a col-
lection of conversations for under-
standing, agreeing, acting, and
learning [ 11]. Nonoka argues “knowl-
edge is created through the synthe-
sis of the contradictions between
the organization’s internal resources
and the environment.” His notion of
the dialectic spiral of synthesis of
contradictions is similar to Rittel’s
notion of designing as a process of
reframing and argumentation.
While outside the scope of this
article, Nonaka’s notion of Ba and
his insistence on Ba and dialectic as
parts of the knowledge-creation process suggest further opportunities
for applying his work to designing.
• By rotating the SECI model, we
can see socialize and externalize
tend to look backward at more
known situations, and combine
and internalize tend to look forward to less known situations.
Today, the practice of software and
service design—indeed most design
practice—is ad hoc, performed on
an “as-needed” basis and adapted
to whatever context the designers encounter. Most design work
still proceeds on an industrial-age