We do not see a lot of manifestos or White Papers in the field of research, which is unfortunate since they do have certain qualities that almost no other scholarly writings have. Some of these qualities are that they are short, to the point, argumentative, and usually written and signed by a group of people with a stated purpose to influence others.
Today I got one such document in an email. The document is called DesignX and is written by a group of well known design scholars (in alphabetical order): Ken Friedman (Tongji University, College of Design and Innovation and Swinburne University Centre for Design Innovation), Yongqi Lou (Tongji), Don Norman (University of California, San Diego, Design Lab), Pieter Jan Stappers (Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering), Ena Voûte (Delft), and Patrick Whitney (Illinois Institute of Technology, Institute of Design).
You can download the text here. Or you can read the text here on Don Norman's site. http://www.jnd.org/dn.mss/designx_a_future_pa.html
The first sentence states "DesignX is a new, evidence-based approach for addressing many of the complex and serious problems facing the world today. It adds to and augments today’s design methods, reformulating the role that design can play."
The document is only three pages. It gives a brief history of design and a review of where design is today and where it has to go. The text contains several quite succinct definitions of what design is and what design can do.
I think the authors have done a great job in describing design and its distinctive qualities and also lays out an interesting agenda for the future. I fully support the general idea behind this initiative.