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Showing posts from June, 2013

Book note: "Back to the rough ground" by Joseph Dunne

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In our research group where we study design practice, we read relevant texts each week this summer and talk about them. Yesterday we read the last chapter, the Epilogue, from "Back to the Rough Ground" by Joseph Dunne.

I read this book when it was first published and I keep coming back to it. When it comes to scholarly examinations about what practice is all about, what competence is, what rationality is, there is no other book that can deliver so much wisdom.

Yesterday, re-reading the Epilogue (which I have read many times before), I was again completely overwhelmed with the way Dunne handles this difficult topic. Some paragraphs are so good, it hurts physically to read them!

Book note: "101 Design Methods" and the problematic success of design

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I just received my copy of the book "101 Design Methods -- A Structured Approach for Driving Innovation inYour Organization" by Vijay Kumar. This is one of quite many similar books that have been published the last few years, that is, a book that contains a large number of design methods nicely but briefly described.

I have always like this type of book even though I never really use them myself. The same is true for "101 Design Methods". The book contains many of the popular design methods that are used today and Kumar has organized these methods by providing "A Model of the Design Innovation Process".

This model is, in my words, a schema that helps designers think about the design process, what activities are involved,  and how the different activities relate to each other. It is a nice schema that invites for further exploration.

Kumar does not discuss design in terms of phases or steps, instead he talks about "Seven Modes of the Design Innovation…

Wonderful 1.5 minute video about design

It is difficult to show what design is about, even if you just want to explain a few aspects of what characterizes the design process. This little video by Apple is in my mind an amazing good and rare example. In two minutes they cover the importance of first intentions, desiderata, service, composition, etc. framed in Apple language. All core concepts from our book "The Design Way".

Of course the video does not give a full exposition of design, but it presents some reflections of its core. And they do it in a beautiful way!

The many (universal) versus the (ultimate) particular

Being in an academic environment where many different approaches to understanding reality lives side by side is fascinating. I am intrigued by the new and growing approach that takes on the study of social phenomena as a study of complex systems and those who advocate 'big data' as the solution to most problems.

It seems as if almost everything today is studied in the format of "many", that is, as a sum, average or network of many actors or activities. This is of course the basic approach of science, the universal is at the core.

At the same time, so much of what make up our reality as humans is a composition of particulars. I live in this particular house, work in this particular job, have these particular friends, etc. Designers have always had a strong affinity for the particular since design is always about the ultimate particular and not about the universal or general.

It is interesting to think about the modern academic world in light of this division. Who in a…