Keynotes and Plenary Speakers
Design is, in many ways, an unfortunate word. Even its English origins are ambiguous, and it is used in many different ways from meaning “evil intent” to “transcendental novelty”. Other languages have no equivalent, and their words are often more helpful than design.
Thus, there is a difference in the activity that designers and design engineers refer to. I believe this difference originates in the nature of the educational institutions and the educations each were provided, beginning in the C19. I shall argue this point, relating engineering with recording the world as is and the use of scientific problem solving formulations; while designing relates to a wish to change the world through an act I describe as cybernetically circular, a conversation, after Pask. The path followed is one of aimless wandering, which comes to make sense after arrival. This is equivalent to saying the solution specifies the problem.
Each of these activities generates, and requires for its operation, a different sort of knowledge. Engineers use knowledge of what is, whereas designers use knowledge for change. One of the problems that faces design today is that the vast majority of knowledge generated by research is of the form knowledge of, whereas, design needs knowledge for (change). One assesses, the other assists.
The type of outcome, the ways in which they can be judges, the implicit criteria and the ethics involved are very different for engineering and design, and I will explore these a little. The criteria appropriate to design are those appropriate to second order cybernetics.
Daniela Sangiorgi: Bringing Complexity into Service Design Research
Increase in complexity in service innovation has motivated the introduction of meta-level frameworks in Service Research introducing descriptions of service systems or service eco-systems, calling for interdisciplinary efforts to work toward innovation. In parallel Service Design has been naturally evolving in terms of complexity of its intervention moving from designing individual service interactions and interfaces, to support organisational change, to imagine novel service models, configurations and platforms. This fundamental shift of focus has been accompanied by an increase of complexity in terms of level and kind of participation in the co-design and co-creation of the suggested solutions that decreases considerably the level of expected and desired control on the output, while it emphasises instead the importance of emergence, ownership and adoption. With this evolution in mind, in this presentation I would like to discuss the current need for system practices and thinking in service design, with a specific attention to why questioning the boundaries and nature of systems is becoming a fundamental design issue in itself.
John Thackara: Life’s Work: The Kinds Of Growth We Need
Over the ages we’ve invested huge resources to keep the man-made world, and nature, separate – but those priorities are beginning to change. In hundreds of thousands of projects, people are reconnecting with living systems to meet practical needs in precarious times. The result, as their actions accumulate, is a cultural as well as physical transformation: A new and global ‘leave things better’ politics that affirms our codependency with the biosphere. This new politics takes practical form in the creation of foodsheds and fibersheds at the scale of the bioregion, and the concept of Buen Vivir or “good living” manifests a political concept of citizenship that includes all life, not just human life.
Harold Nelson: Self-organizing a strange attractor
Systems are complex, designing is complex. Systemic designing is even more complex. Complexity is not a negative condition. In fact it is a necessary thing if the full richness and potential of anything is to be realized. Giving order and form to systemic design is analogue to self-organizing a strange attractor. Forcing form onto the complex milieu of systemic designing doesn’t work. Forms that work in other contexts—e.g. art, science, and the humanities—are ill fitted when pulled over systemic designing. A more tailored form will take shape through a process of self-organization—a type of dialogue that gives order and form to complex things.
In this Keynote I will talk about a few of the habits of thought that hinder the initiation and flow of this self-organizing dialogue and will propose some new habits that would support it. I will give examples from the keynotes, conversations and presentation from the Symposium that are supportive of self-organizing behavior.
 An attractor is a set of properties toward which a system tends to evolve, regardless of the initial conditions of the system.
Self-organization is a process where some form of global order or coordination arises out of the local interactions between diverse components of an inchoate system.
Self-organizing a strange attractor (PDF)