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Generations in Design Methodology

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The relationship between design and science is examined through the lens of design methodology. The purpose is to foresee the next generation of design methodology and its attributes. Four generations in design methodology are recognized – craft, design-by-drawing, hard systems methods, and soft systems methods – and each is characterized in terms of its benefits and limitations in respect of design practice. To the extent that each new generation overlays the preceding one, a system of design methodologies is created which, being more inclusive of the real world, should be increasingly useful to design practice.

The change process between generations appears to be a double exponential, suggesting that a fifth generation in design methodology is now emerging. Reasons are presented why this is likely to be an evolutionary systems methodology. Such a development will position design as an evolutionary guidance system for socioculture, a much more central role in human affairs. It also has the potential, as we better understand the evolutionary nature of biological and sociocultural phenomena, to generate a profound and comprehensive relationship between design and science.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2752/146069203790219335

Publication date: March 1, 2003

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1998, The Design Journal is an international, refereed journal covering all aspects of design. The journal welcomes articles on design in both cultural and commercial contexts. The journal is published four times a year and provides a forum for design scholars, professionals, educators, and managers worldwide. It publishes thought-provoking work that will have a direct impact on design knowledge and that challenges assumptions and methods, while being open-minded about the evolving role of design.
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