Towards a Science of Design as a Basis of Education

DS 69: Proceedings of E&PDE 2011, the 13th International Conference on Engineering and Product Design Education, London, UK, 08.-09.09.2011

Year: 2011
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Finkelstein, Ludwik
Series: E&PDE
Section: Pedagogy
Page(s): 322-327


Design may be defined as a system of activities, which transform the perception of a need into the knowledge required to make or implement an artefact, process or system to satisfy the need. It is thus a basis of all human culture. An understanding of design should thus be one of the bases of education, on par with the understanding of the nature of knowledge and the principles of critical analytical reasoning. Whereas the latter have been extensively studied and discussed since Antiquity, the principles of design had not until recently received similar attention. The presentation will argue that there have emerged in recent times some general principles of design which are broadly applicable in diverse domains of human knowledge and culture. They may be termed a nascent design science, where science is defined as a systematically organised body of knowledge. It is recognised that design is an art as well as a science, and that the ability to design must be taught by engagement with practical tasks and that it is different in different domains of human culture. Thus, Design Science is to the development of ability to design, as Logic is to the ability to think rationally.

The author has engaged with the development of the generic principles of design for some six decades. He has studied, analytically and critically, engineering design methodology, the systems approach, artificial intelligence insights and the like. He has taught generic principles of design, particularly in courses on measurement and instrumentation and on principles of disaster management. He has also been developing these generic principles in connection with research on computer-aided design of instruments, the study of medical diagnosis and treatment, as well as in the analysis and interpretation of ancient literary documents. The presentation proposes to outline the emergent generic principles of design as seen by the author, and illustrate their applications and generality through an outline of examples the author has studied. In conclusion, the author proposes that the development of generic principles of design as one of the bases of education be continued.

Keywords: Design methodology, Education


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