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BOOK COMMENT: NIgel Cross "Design Thinking"

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Nigel Cross has for a long time been one of the most prominent researchers of design. He has a background as an architect and industrial designer but has mostly been doing research on and about design. His notion "designerly knowing" has had a great impact and influenced many design thinkers. He has also been instrumental in fostering international design research institutions, such as the DRS. He is also the Editor in Chief of the influential journal "Design Studies".

His new book "Design Thinking" is just out, ironically at the same time as Bruce Nussbaum has claimed that design thinking is dead. Over the last few years there has been an enormous interest in "design thinking" especially in some parts of the business and management community. Design thinking has been seen as an approach to innovation that can radically change business as usual and that can transform organizations to be able to act and respond quickly to new demands and challeng…

BOOK COMMENT: Richard J. Bernstein "The Pragmatic Turn"

The philosophical tradition that I have always found most appealing and suitable for the kind of work I do is pragmatism. This philosophical theme has been around for about 150 years and include famous thinkers as Charles S. Pierce, William James, John Dewey, and George H. Mead, on to present days representatives such as Richard Rorty and Hilary Putnam. Of these thinkers, Dewey and Rorty are the ones that has captured my attention over the years.

In a new book, Richard Bernstein goes through the history of pragmatism, how it emerged, who was involved, how pragmatism is related to more traditional schools of thought such as the analytical tradition and the continental. Bernstein is himself an important contributor to pragmatism and has influenced many, especially with his book "Beyond Objectivism and Relativism"(1983), a book that influenced me a lot when it was published. I read it with great interest and learned a lot.

The new book "The Pragmatic Turn" is interest…

CHI 2011, the field, development, grand challenge, and the need for more books

Back from this years CHI conference. This time in Vancouver. Bigger than ever before. Amazingly well organized for a conference of this size.

CHI is changing. It is not easy to really understand what the changes are when you are at the conference, but compared with just a few years ago it is easier to see that there is a difference.  The conference is broader, more diverse. I had the chance to go to several sessions and it is exciting to see that not only is the diversity growing but I also found the quality in general to be better than usual.

One clear change to me is a new interest in theory. I was very pleased to see a design theory session filling two large rooms, and so did the more theoretical design methods session. I hope that this is a sign that the field is getting more eager  to find ways to synthesize findings and results from all the studies, experiments, and designs projects.

A field of this size need people who can bring things together, who can conceptualize, theoriz…