Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What is a design theory?

I am working with one of our PhD students, Jordan Beck, on the question of what is design theory. It is such an exciting question. Jordan is collecting 'things' (ideas, frameworks, etc.) that could potentially be seen as a design theory. It is now a long list. But, the challenge is, which ones are truly a design theory and not just a theory that has been appropriated or 'used' in a design context. And are there different kinds of design theory, maybe at different levels or with different focus or purpose? In our meeting today we came up with ideas that already has changed my thinking about what could be a design theory. I realized that I have to rethink to what extent some of the ideas I have myself worked with and written about is a 'theory' or not. I hope that we soon can present some of the ideas we are working with.


nicolas nova said...

Very interesting, I'm looking forward to reading the conclusions. This is an highly important topic we try to deal here (geneva university of arts and design) too.

I guess you know this paper.

Johan Redström said...

Looking forward!

Speaking about what a design theory is, I came to think of another discussion we once had: why is it that we so often hear remarks that while design researchers may have a developed theoretical grounding at the early stages of the research process, it is quite common that little of this is also present towards the end, in the articulation of the latter stages of the process? If you still remember, and come to think of other places/papers where this issue has been addressed I would much like to know.