Sunday, July 1, 2012

New site for the "The Design Way"

We have now opened a new site with more information about the new Edition of "The Design Way". You have find it at

Friday, June 1, 2012

design competence

As interest grows in design as an efficacious form of open inquiry integrated with an effective approach to action—i.e. inquiry for action or thinking for doing—it is important to keep in mind that design is not a method or recipe for prescriptive reaction but an intentional stance one takes towards life. It is also important to keep in mind that good design is not just another approach to problem solving. Design is a process for determining desired directions to take and strategies for following through with actions that result in the realization of desired outcomes or states of affairs in organizations and other social systems. Design in organizations—governmental and business—is played out in three different ways in the guise of organizational design competence (see Figure below).

Organizational Design Competency

As a leadership stance, design competence is the capacity to create or recreate whole organizations or major systems within organizations. As a management approach, design competence is the requisite ability to create tools, procedures, processes, structures, and other instrumentalities that support the operations of successful organizations. As an interface between the organization and its constituency, design competence is the form of expertise that creates products, experiences or services for clients, stakeholders and society as a whole.

Design competence is the ability to make desired changes in the right directions, for the right reasons using the right processes. It is driven by what is desired to be brought into the world rather than what is feared about the world as it exists. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2nd Ed. The Design Way coming soon

The Design Way
Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World
Second Edition, MIT Press (2012)
Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman

Humans did not discover fire--they designed it. Design is not defined by software programs, blueprints, or font choice. When we create new things--technologies, organizations, processes, systems, environments, ways of thinking--we engage in design. With this expansive view of design as their premise, in The Design Way, Harold Nelson and Erik Stolterman make the case for design as its own culture of inquiry and action. They offer not a recipe for design practice or theorizing but a formulation of design culture’s fundamental core of ideas. These ideas--which form “the design way”--are applicable to an infinite variety of design domains, from such traditional fields as architecture and graphic design to such nontraditional design areas as organizational, educational, interaction and healthcare design.

Nelson and Stolterman present design culture in terms of foundations (first principles), fundamentals (core concepts), and metaphysics, and then discuss these issues from both learner’s and practitioner’s perspectives. The text of this second edition is accompanied by new detailed images, “schemas” that visualize, conceptualize, and structure the authors’ understanding of design inquiry. This text itself has been revised and expanded throughout, in part in response to reader feedback.

Harold G. Nelson was 2009–2010 Distinguished Professor of Design at Carnegie Mellon University and is currently Senior Instructor in the Graduate School of Business and Public Policy at the Naval Postgraduate School and President of Advanced Design Institute. 

Erik Stolterman is Professor of Informatics and Dept. Chair in the School of Informatics and computing at Indiana University Bloomington.