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06 APRIL 2014

State of Design: How Design Education Must Change

"But design faces an uncertain future. The traditional design fields create artifacts. But new societal challenges, cultural values, and technological opportunities require new skills. Design today is more human–centered and more social, more rooted in technology and science than ever before. Moreover, there is need for services and processes that do not require the great craft skills that are the primary outcome of a design education.

Although design can sometimes bring creative insight to new problems, this ability is more of an art than a science, limited to a few especially talented individuals and design firms. In order to expand beyond chance successes, design needs better tools and methods, more theory, more analytical techniques, and more understanding of how art and science, technology and people, theory and practice can commingle effectively and productively. ...

Design is still mainly taught as a craft. There are remarkably few fundamental principles, almost no science. If design is to live up to its promise it must create new, enduring curricula for design education that merge science and technology, art and business, and indeed, all the knowledge of the university. Design is an all–encompassing field that integrates together business and engineering, the social sciences and the arts. We see a tremendous opportunity for students that learn design in this integrated way. ...

For design to succeed, grow, achieve its potential, and train future leaders, we envision a new curriculum. In our vision, these new programs combine learning the art and craft of beautiful, pleasurable well–crafted design with substantive courses in the social and biological sciences, in technology, mathematics and statistics, and in the understanding of experimental methods and rigorous reasoning. Programming and mechatronics are essential skills in today's product world. Not only will this training make for better practitioners, but it will also equip future generations of designers to be better at developing the hard, rigorous theory design requires.

Design is an exciting powerful field, filled with promise. To meet the challenges of the 21st century, design and design education must change. So too must universities."

(Don Norman and Scott Klemmer, 25 March 2014)



2014 • analytical techniques • analytical thinkingart and design education • behavioural sciences • call to actioncomplex phenomenacraft and materialscraft skills • creative insight • creative leaders • deductive reasoning • design academics • design and visual culturedesign artefactsdesign craftdesign curriculadesign curriculumdesign educationdesign education must changedesign facultydesign methodsdesign pedagogydesign studio educationdesign theory • design theory and practice • design thinkingdisciplinary specialisationDonald Normanexperimental methodsexperimental type design • finding and solving problems • formal design methodsfundamental principlesinductive reasoningintegrative practicesinterdisciplinary knowledge • LinkedIn Influencers (series) • material practicesmateriality of artefacts • mechatronics • people and society • people and technology • practical theory • practice and theorypractitioner wisdomquestioning traditionsScott Klemmersynthetic thinkingsystematic approachsystems thinking • technology and people • technology designtheory and practicetheory of designthinking toolsuncertain future • well-crafted design


Linda Carroli
01 DECEMBER 2013

Ways of Thinking and Organisational Causality

"There are several types or ways of thinking. Each of these ways of thinking comes with its own set of assumptions, or paradigms, that, while making the thinking process work efficiently, also constrains the process to a particular view of causality, organization, and management's and members' roles in an organization. These types of thinking have their roots in natural sciences, social sciences, and philosophies. They can become so pervasive and dominant in management discourse that they become invisible, being applied without consideration for their assumed causality. Clearly identifying and classifying types of thinking raises awareness of what thinking is actually taking place, and at the same time challenges management to improve their thinking based on this knowledge of thinking."

(Kim Korn, Create Advantage Inc.)



analytical thinking • assumed causality • autonomous human choice • business management • business organisation • causalitycompetitive advantage • competitive positioning • complex responsive processes thinking • complexity science • decision making • formative causality • Georg Hegel • Hegelian philosophy • holistic thinking • identity-difference thinking • imaginative thinkingImmanuel Kant • inside-out thinking • insightintuitionIsaac Newton • Kantian philosophy • knowledge of thinking • knowledge paradigm • management discourse • mechanistic perspective • natural causality • natural sciences • natural systems • organisation causality • organisation evolution • organisational behaviourorganisational capabilities • organisational causality • organisational dynamics • outside-in thinking • part-whole thinkingphilosophypsychological perception • rational choice thinking • rationalist causality • rationalist perspectiverationalist traditionsocial sciencestrategic thinkingsynthetic thinking • system-environment thinking • systemic process thinking • systemic thinking • systems approach • systems science • systems thinking • thinking roles • thinking styles • transformative causality • types of thinking • ways of thinking


Simon Perkins
12 MARCH 2011

Scientists revise their criteria of rationality as they enter new domains

"The conventional model of science, technology and society locates sources of violence in politics and ethics, that is, in the application of science and technology, not in scientific knowledge itself.

The fact–value dichotomy is a creation of modern, reductionist science which, while being an epistemic response to a particular set of values, claims to be independent of values. According to the received view, modern science is the discovery of the properties of nature in accordance with a 'scientific method' which generates 'objective', 'neutral', 'universal' knowledge. This view of modern science as a description of reality as it is, unprejudiced by value, can be rejected on at least four grounds.

All knowledge, including modern scientific knowledge, is built through the use of a plurality of methodologies. As Feyerabend observes:

There is no 'scientific method'; there is no single procedure, or set of rules that underlines every piece of research and guarantees that it is 'scientific' and, therefore, trustworthy. The idea of a universal and stable method that is an unchanging measure of adequacy and even the idea of a universal and stable rationality is as unrealistic as the idea of a universal and stable measuring instrument that measures any magnitude, no matter what the circumstances. Scientists revise their standards, their procedures, their criteria of rationality as they move along and perhaps entirely replace their theories and their instruments as they move along and enter new domains of research (Feyerband, 1978, p. 98).

The view that science is just a discovery of facts about nature does not get support from philosophy either. If scientific knowledge is assumed to give true, factual knowledge of 'reality as it is', then we would have to 'conclude that Newtonian theory was true until around 1900, after which it suddenly became false, while relativity and quantum theories became the truth' (Bohm, 1981, p. 4)."

(Vandana Shiva, 1990)

1). Shiva, V. (1990). 'Reductionist science as epistemological violence'. 'Science, Hegemony and Violence: A Requiem for Modernity'. A. Nandy, Oxford University Press: 314.

Paul Feyerabend, Science in a Free Society (London: New Left Books, 1978).

David Bohm, Wholeness and the Implicate Order (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981).


analytical thinkingCartesiancultural valuesdescription of realitydiscoursediscoverydiscursive fieldepistemologyethicsfactual knowledgehierarchy of legitimacyIsaac Newtonknowledge • logical-analytical • logical-analytical paradigmmeasuring instrument • model of science • Modernmodern science • modern scientific knowledge • myth of neutralityobjectiveobjective reality • Paul Feyerband • plurality of methodologies • positivismproperties of naturerationalityreductionism • reductionist science • researchresearch methodsciencescientific knowledgescientific method • scientific options • sociology • stable knowledge • stable rationality • theorytraditiontrust • trustworthy • truthuniversal • universal knowledge • universal methoduniversal rationalityVandana Shiva


Simon Perkins
17 JANUARY 2010

Developing Analytical and Synthetic Thinking in Technology Education

"One of the most prominent characteristics of modern society is the increasing number of students acquiring technology education. An important question that must be dealt with, regarding this phenomenon relates to the nature of an appropriate technology education. A thorough examination of prevalent trends indicates that cultivating analytical skills constitutes an essential feature of science education, while within the framework of technology education mainly synthetic skills are being cultivated. Analytical thinking deserves little attention in processes of teaching technology, and is not adequately stressed in processes of constructing design skills. Apparently it seems that the different curricula adopted in science and technology education emanates from the inherent differences between research methodologies in science as opposed to design in technology. Whereas analytical thinking is typically related to the scientific process, synthetic thinking manifested in planning, building and developing is an essential part of design processes. However, several stages requiring analytical thinking can be identified in the design process. These stages mainly characterize the initial process and include analyzing the task, the selection of an appropriate model, formalization, etc.

Technology is viewed, within the conceptual framework of our research, as a discipline based on two types of thinking: synthetic and analytical, occurring both in the realm of practice (in the real world) and the realm of theory (using symbolic representations of the real world). The hypothesis examined in this research relates to the desired interactions between the two types of thinking, as well as to the manner of their integration in processes of teaching and learning. We hypothesize that integrating the above mentioned types of thinking might enhance the efficiency of technology instruction."

(Ilja Levin, E. Lieberman)

Levin I, Lieberman E. (2000) 'Developing Analytical and Synthetic Thinking in Technology Education', Proceedings of International Conference on Technology Education, Braunshweig, Germany.

Fig.1 'Evolver' (2009) was designed and executed by a team of 2nd year students from the ALICE Studio at Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Switzerland



Simon Perkins

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