online: 14 july 2002

14 july 2002 what is designing?

12.54 After someone reminded me of my definition of design (in Design Methods, 1970, page 3, quoting a paper I wrote in 1966) as:
the performing of a very complicated act of faith
I awoke in the night feeling that that was not my final definition at that time... then I remembered that, after reviewing definitions by eleven design theorists, I proposed a more comprehensive definition than any of them:
to initiate change in man-made things
...but now, more than thirty years later, and in a changed world, I am no longer happy with man-made nor with things...

So, remembering J W Goethe's remark that human life can be thought of as just two entities - thought and action - and remembering a host of other considerations, too many to describe, my mind-in-the-night would not sleep until I had re-phrased my comprehensive definition as:

thoughts and actions
intended to change
thoughts and actions
And now, just before lunch, I am sufficiently pleased with that (more a poem than a definition, more self-reflective than the others) to give it this place in my digital diary through which to encounter 'the world' - if such exists in an existence less discrete and less static than is implied by the idea of design as the shaping of fixed objects (it's only the existence of existence that's fixed!)...

Yes I am still writing about design - though in language quite different from that in which I first learnt to speak of that activity.

So what thoughts and actions, if any, will this new definition provoke?

digital diary dates


© 2002 john chris jones

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