Friday, April 27, 2007

Time for CHI2007

Today I am leaving for CHI. It will be an interesting week as usual. It is a way to inquire into the core of the field, find our what is going on, where people are directing their interest. It is of course an opportunity to meet colleagues. And, we are looking forward to the student design competition!

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rediscovered Buchanan's article

Tonight I have re-read Richard Buchanan's article "Wicked Problems in Design Thinking". I have not read it since 92-93. In my memory it has always been an outstanding paper. Now when I read it again, it makes me inspired and stimulated. It is an unusually insightful text on design. I highly recommend it.

Richard Buchanan. (1992) "Wicked Problems in Design Thinking", in Design Issues, Vol. 8, No. 2. pp.5-21.

Favorite Books in Design Theory

I had a meeting today with a PhD student from another department and was asked what to read if you want to get into the more theoretical and philosophical aspects of design and that had influenced my work. It was a good exercise and I came at least up with a few books, even though I am sure I have forgotten some that might be even more influential on my thinking. So, here they are, not full references but some with links:

Lundeqvist, Jerker. (1982?) "Norm och modell" (Norm and Model). in Swedish
This was Jerker's PhD thesis and it really opened the door for me to design theory!

Simon, Herbert. "The Science of the Artificial"
Simon's book is a must in the area.

Schön, Donald. "Educating the Reflective Practitioner"
Maybe the most influential book for me.

Lawson, Bryan. "How Designers Think"
Lawson's book really helped me to form my own understanding of design.

Dunne, Joseph "Back to the Rough Ground"
Probably the best book ever on practical knowledge and judgment.

Krippendorff, Klaus. "The Semantic Turn -- a new foundation for design"
The best contemporary book on design theory.

and of course the "best" one :-)

Nelson, Harold & Stolterman, Erik. "The Design Way - Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World"

Well, I will maybe update and add more later.....

Monday, April 23, 2007

CHI2007, Nordes, Design, and Marcuse

Well, next week I am going to CHI. I am looking forward to see what the new trends are. I am hoping that the interest and focus on design that really started last year will this year take on even more. I am especially looking for papers and presentations that take a theoretical and philosophical view on design. So far, at CHI and the field as such, design is mainly connected to more practical views of doing design and less with conceptual reflection. This is fine, but I hope that this can be complemented with a deeper and more insightful theoretical understanding of design.

In the end of May I am going to Stockholm for the Nordes conference. The conference introduces itself with these words: "How can we understand the impact of design for people, companies and society? How can we provide design practice with appropriate and inspiring knowledge and ideas? How can we use critical and constructive design thinking to create new possibilities for the future?"

I am looking forward to the Nordes conference since many new conceptual ideas on design comes from Scandinavia. There is a strong tradition of reflection and critical examination of existing practice which seems to foster the development of new theoretical ideas that challenges the mainstream. maybe it is the case that small and self-critical countries (such as Sweden) might be a fertile ground for the kind of critique of the "one-dimensional society" that Marcuse once asked for.