Approaching the designerly

In the 20th Century everyone aspired to be scientific. Unfortunately, the image of science and scientific knowledge was distorted by rationalist fantasies, and attempts at scientific practice were encumbered — and, in fact, sterilized — by misnorms.

In the 21st Century we we are off to a good start, aspiring to be designerly. However the image of design is also distorted and many key design practices are either omitted or falsified. Too much emphasis is placed on “creativity” and too little on the social conditions productive of (and produced by) effective design collaboration. Design practice is still a romantic antithesis to 20th Century misconceptions of science and engineering — which bog design down with the same sterilizing burdens that has plagued scientism.

What is needed is a better synthesis of science/technology/engineering and design that supports a more productive (or should I say “serviceable”?) redrawing of the definitional boundaries, divisions of labor and collaboration, and organizational relationships between the disciplines associated with deploying technology for human purposes.