Thursday, September 29, 2011

Book Note: Donald Schon "Beyond the Stable State"

In 1971 Donald Schon published his book "Beyond the Stable State". Schon has since then been recognized as an impressive thinker in many different disciplines. His fame and reputation are based on some amazing books that still are read and frequently referenced. However, the "Stable State" is usually not among them. Recently I had the pleasure of re-reading some parts of the it.

As often when you go back to something you read a long time ago, you are intrigued by other parts of the text, other ideas stand out. Ideas that you do not remember being in the book. I must admit that "Beyond the Stable State" is one of the books that has had the most influence on me over the years. To me, the message condensed in the title is enough, and is an example of a great idea. 

Anyway, in re-reading parts of the book I realized that the last chapter contains a description of a form of research methodology or learning strategy that is resonating with my own thinking. The notions of "existential knowledge" and "projective models" are absolutely fascinating. Schon provides a clear and wonderful explanation of how to understand "case" studies, especially when the reason is to prepare for action. Schon's theory on how to approach "social change" is absolutely perfect for any professional working in any kind of design. Read the last chapter!

1 comment:

Ravi said...

Thanks for sharing your opinion Erik. The title itself is fascinating :). Looking forward to read it.