Bucky's Dilemma Options






Bucky Student Dilemma Options

Five dilemmas (situations) for students to consider and focus on within their project:
  1. Post World War II America was faced with a huge influx of returning servicemen who would be looking to settle down and start families, but we lacked the housing stock to meet their needs in quick, affordable, and sustainable fashions.

  2. Bucky was driven in his Dymaxion house (and car) endeavors by an unwavering belief that science, technology, and design could help raise all of humanity up to a sustainable standard of living.

    Sample Indicators of a Successful Design Solution
    Solution strives to raise humanity up to a sustainable standard
    of living for all:
       -  affordable and accessible
       -  original idea that is purposeful
       -  sustainable and renewable

  3. Bucky insisted on using aluminum and the post war airplane production factories for his homes, which would keep costs down, but produced a “different” look for his homes.

  4. Persistence is one of the key markers of genius and extraordinary success; Bucky was persistent but few of his ideas, however beautiful for their visionary and humanitarian nature, came to a profitable fruition.

  5. Bucky had thousands of orders for homes in 1946, but abandoned the project after trouble with investors.


Dilemma 1
Problem Statement
Post World War II America was faced with a huge influx of returning servicemen who would be looking to settle down and start families, but we lacked the housing stock to meet their needs in quick, affordable, and sustainable fashions.

Critical Questions
Considering America’s housing dilemma post WWII, in what ways do you empathize with Bucky’s creative choices in the Dymaxion house?
  • How do you interpret Bucky’s reactions to the situation, problem, and barriers? 
  • Which of his choices for the design were most pivotally important? Which seem most problematic?
How did Bucky’s guiding philosophy of humanitarianism and his belief in science, technology and design spark his divergent thinking to solve the dilemma?
  • In what ways did the home meet the needs of his users?
  • How did his choices, while well intentioned, fail to help him achieve his ends? 
In what ways has your team become aware of their growth/fixed mindset dispositions and decision making practices? 
  • How might your team's redesign offer a creative (original) innovative (new and purposeful) solution that goes beyond the norm (compared to initial or common thinking)?
  • In what ways is your team making sustainable (renewable) contributions?


Dilemma 2
Problem Statement
Bucky was driven in his Dymaxion house (and car) endeavors by an unwavering belief that science, technology, and design could help raise all of humanity up to a sustainable standard of living.

Critical Questions
While we’ve come a long way in raising general standards of living, many in the world (and even in our own country) still suffer from starvation, substandard housing, and lack of access to fresh water, food, or even electricity and basic education.
  • In what ways did Bucky’s philosophy (especially as manifested in the Dymaxion house) help and hinder his goal of getting the world to work for 100% of humanity? 
  • What aspects of growth or fixed mindset do you see at work (or failure to work) in his ideas?
How did Bucky navigate adversity during the challenge of the Dymaxion house (and other) project(s)
  • In what ways did he exhibit habits of mind that positively affected his progress?
  • How did his choices assist (or delay) progress when he was confronted with adversity? 
In what ways has your team become aware of their growth/fixed mindset dispositions and decision making practices? 
  • How might your team's redesign offer a creative (original) innovative (new and purposeful) solution that goes beyond the norm (compared to initial or common thinking)?
  • In what ways is your team making sustainable (renewable) contributions?


Dilemma 3
Problem Statement
Bucky insisted on using aluminum and the post war airplane production factories for his homes, which would keep costs down, but produced a “different” look for his homes.

Critical Questions
How might Bucky’s singular vision of his home’s construction material as aluminum--which is durable, lightweight, and, given the factories already producing it, affordable--actually have led to the project’s downfall?
  • Explain your view on the common criticism that Bucky’s Dymaxion Homes, while utterly innovative, proved that he did not understand the important difference between a house and a home.
  • What aspects of growth or fixed mindset do you see at work (or failure to work) in his focus on aluminum?
How might Bucky’s focus on the design innovations and divergent thinking that the Dymaxion Home represented have blinded him to other concerns users might have had about the house?
  • Could an adherence to fixed and/or growth mindsets have increased this problem? Look to growth and fixed mindsets to address this question.
  • How did his choices about materials and design assist (or delay) progress when he was confronted with adversity? 
In what ways has your team become aware of their growth/fixed mindset dispositions and decision making practices? 
  • How might your team's redesign offer a creative (original) innovative (new and purposeful) solution that goes beyond the norm (compared to initial or common thinking)?
  • In what ways is your team making sustainable (renewable) contributions?


Dilemma 4
Problem Statement
Persistence is one of the key markers of genius and extraordinary success; Bucky was persistent but few of his ideas, however beautiful for their visionary and humanitarian nature, came to a profitable fruition.

Critical Questions
Could you make a claim that Bucky’s persistence bordered on perfectionism (Persistence’s evil twin)?
  • What parts of Bucky’s work/philosophy seemed to smack of perfectionism?  Why so?
  • What aspects of growth/fixed mindsets might play into a drive for perfectionism and how?
Because they bring new environments and ideas into the world, designers, especially architects, are often seen as narcissistic, and in love with their own ideas even if that love destroys or sabotages their projects.
  • What aspects of Bucky’s Dymaxion Home may provide evidence to prove the claim in critical question #2 true? How so?
  • What types of behaviors in the fixed/growth mindset lists might support the claim in #2?  Explain.
In what ways has your team become aware of their growth/fixed mindset dispositions and decision making practices? 
  • How might your team's redesign offer a creative (original) innovative (new and purposeful) solution that goes beyond the norm (compared to initial or common thinking)?
  • In what ways is your team making sustainable (renewable) contributions?


Dilemma 5
Problem Statement
Bucky had thousands of orders for homes in 1946, but abandoned the project after trouble with investors.

Critical Questions
Given his philosophy and focus on affordable, sustainable housing-and-living for 100% of the world, and the ready availability of cheap materials, and the 1,000's of orders already in hand, why might Bucky have abandoned the project?
  • What aspects of his philosophy might have led to abandoning the project?
  • What aspects of growth/fixed mindsets might lead to abandoning a project?
One article indicates that part of the reason the Dymaxion home never got off the ground was Bucky’s “refusal to compromise.” Can you identify any aspects of the Dymaxion house that you think should have been changed from Bucky’s plans/ideas, given what you’ve seen or read about the home?
  • Why might Bucky have refused to compromise?
  • Have you ever worked on a team with someone who refused to compromise?  What about their stance did you find difficult?  What did you admire about it?
In what ways has your team become aware of their growth/fixed mindset dispositions and decision making practices? 
  • How might your team's redesign offer a creative (original) innovative (new and purposeful) solution that goes beyond the norm (compared to initial or common thinking)?
  • In what ways is your team making sustainable (renewable) contributions?