Showing posts from October, 2016

Do design researchers really know the work of Donald Schön?

It is well known that Donald Schön is one of the most influential design scholars in the last few decades. His ideas are often referenced and we can almost always assume that most people engaged in research about design is aware of these ideas. However, there is this suspicion that I have heard from several colleagues over the years that even though Schön is commonly referenced, researchers do not necessarily read his work carefully.

My PhD student Jordan Beck has together with a colleague, Laureline Chiapello, published a great paper in which they have examined how design researchers cite the work of Schön. The results are quite fascinating and actually confirm the suspicion mention above. From other work (Chai and Xiao 2012), we know that Schön is the most cited author in design research (at least in the venues examined). But how is Schön cited and for what purpose?

In the article "Schön’s Legacy: Examining Contemporary Citation Practices in DRS Publications" by Beck and …

Relating Systems Thinking And Design 5

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in the "Relating Systems Thinking And Design 5" symposium. This conference is for researchers and practitioners who are devoted to either systems thinking or design thinking or preferably both. This is an interesting and important topic. There is no design today that does not have to struggle with systems. And systems are usually not of interest unless as a way of understanding something for design. The ambition to do good and to change this world into something better among the participants is extraordinary. In some cases overwhelming since it leads to projects that almost crumbles as a consequence of their scope and complexity. But if you have are someone who believe that difficult and complex societal problems have to be approached by systems thinking and design, then this is the place for you!

Anyway, I had the opportunity to give a Keynote presentation on "Interactivity Fields and Systems" based on our forthcoming …


The title of this blogpost is the same as a paper that my PhD student Jordan Beck and I have published. The question in the title is to me a difficult one and a question that is not taken seriously enough by those who produce knowledge about design or those who develop methods and tools for design.

The abstract of the paper is short and says:

"This paper asks, Can there be scientific theories of design that do not scientize design? And it answers in the affirmative. Not only can there be scientific theories of design that do not scientize design but also that a scientific lens can potentially reveal important aspects of the design process. We apply Karl Popper’s criteria for the scientific status of a theory to four seminal theories of the design process: Bounded Rationality, FBS Framework, Figural Complexity, and C-K Theory. We demonstrate that (1) some theories about design can be construed as scientific in Popper’s terms, and that (2) these theories do not “scientize” the desi…