Showing posts from February, 2013

"The Design Way" --- a review

Yesterday we got a nice review sent to us from MIT Press that has been published in "Computing Reviews". You can find the review here. What I like about the review is that it is by someone who is not a designer, who is not already in the field of designerly thinking, but still a positive review. The reviewer, Joan Horvath, does a good job in introducing the book and explaining how and why it can be read by someone who is not yet familiar with design in this more theoretical and philosophical way. Horvath makes the argument that the book is valuable if you are an engineer and have to work with people that are more designerly or artistic. It creates an understanding of the different approaches, I could not agree more.

Growing Critique of 'Big Data'

It is interesting that we can already see critique against the 'big data' movement (just search for critique of 'big data'). One good example of the more recent voices came in NYT the other day (link).  It is always the case that anything that evolves into a buzz word and get hyped inevitably will face critique, but this critique has come earlier than I expected.

It seems as if the notion of 'big data' and its proponents will face some resistance from the start. Of course, 'big data' has been around for a long time but it has been invisible and not very 'cool'. It has been seen as number crunching and serious computation of large datasets or databases. It has been seen as an activity in the background and as an infrastructure that feeds information into front-end systems. Now 'big data' is its own thing, bringing promises and creating hopes of new possibilities. With the new popularity and the promises of potential wonders that it can del…

Misconceptions about the Science of Design

In a New York Times article, Lance Hosey writes, "A revolution in the science of design is already under way, and most people, including designers, aren’t even aware of it." The articles reports on recent research that has shown how different aspects of color, shapes, patterns, motives, etc lead to particular reactions in humans. For instance, the color green can boost creativity  motives from nature can make people more efficient. Hosey mentions some more examples. The author makes the case that "if every designer understood more about the mathematics of attraction, the mechanics of affection, all design — from houses to cellphones to offices and cars — could both look good and be good for you."

This is an amazingly confused and misguided article. I will soon post a more detailed critique.

[Ok, I wrote this about a month ago and I have not yet posted "a more detailed critique", I think it is quite probable that there will not be any such posting.]

New look and Claude Levi-Strauss

As you may recognize, I have slightly changed the design of my blog. We'll see if I like it. It may soon change again. Since this is only a matter of changing structure and not the content, I am appropriately reading "Myth and Meaning" by Claude Levi-Strauss at the same time. I have not read this book before but have always suspected that I would like it--and I do. He writes for instance "it is absolutely impossible to conceive of meaning without order." I agree. And he also writes "science has only two ways of proceeding: it is either reductionist or structuralist". Simple and clear, think about that!

DRS 2014 – Design’s Big Debates

Since I am involved in the organization of the DRS 2014 conference, I am posting some information about it hear. We are aiming to develop the conference to even more become the premier international general design conference. We are changing many aspects fo the conference to both better reach a broader audience while also enhance the quality of submissions. So, read and plan!!

DRS 2014 – Design’s Big Debates
Preliminary Call for Participation
Umeå, Sweden, June 16-19, 2014

Design Research Society’s 2014 conference invites you to engage in discussions and debates on the future directions of design and design research. We welcome you to join us in Umeå, Sweden, June 16-19.

We believe there is a shared discourse in design, one that includes all areas of design research, and that is of vital importance for our understanding and development of the foundations of design. This discourse is something we share and cultivate over long periods time, as it tells stories of past, pres…

The End of Ted Talks and MOOCs

During the last year or two, I have seen more and more signs of a growing dislike for the TED talks. There are articles, blogposts, and comics that in different ways display one or another aspect of TED talks that people seem to see as problematic. Here is a typical example.

It is interesting how something that just a short time ago was by many considered to be the highest form of achievement, to give a TED talk, now by many is viewed as a form of knowledge diffusion that is almost detrimental to its very purpose, that is, to spreading real and serious knowledge in an efficient and entertaining way.

As in the example, the critique of TED talks seem to raise issues about the selection of speakers, quality of format, the slick presentation style, etc. But the most serious critique seems to be that TED actually do a disservice to the research and intellectual communities in that is makes every problem and solution, every grand idea or philosophy into a entertaining "wow" experi…

Book note: About design, methods, and Paul Feyerabend

As a PhD student that spent a lot of time reading and studying philosophy I came across the work of Paul Feyerabend, in particular his book "Against Method: Outline of an Anarchistic Theory of Knowledge" (1975).

As someone who at that time was already fascinated with the notion of rationality and its relation to method, I found Feyerabend to be exciting and inspring. He made a strong case against the belief that there is a "correct" method that we can trust when it comes to the production of scientific knowledge. He took a strong position against methods in any form  or shape and advocated for an anarchistic stance when it came to methods for knowledge production.

Feyerabend developed a strong critique against all the typical claims and arguments supporting the primacy of a scientific method. He argues against correspondence, coherency, falsification, etc. Instead he argued for "anything goes". His main idea was that as soon as we define a method and defi…