An Online Design Journey of

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Design Theory

Knowledge of what is doesn't open the door directly to what should be.

Albert Einstein

Seven Colums of Design

Design Education

Designerly Ways of Knowing

Internet, Emergent Culture and Design

Design Links


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Design is understood as a human potential that manifests itself in the invention of new social practices, be they objects, services or processes. It is a synthesis of creativity (imagining new things) and innovation (using technology to bring new things into existence). The central concern of design is the conception and realization of new things, which are envisioned by the designer as desired outcomes. Design is thinking about what doesn't exist yet. The future is the space of design, where designers dare to compose new worlds. By composition we mean broadly putting together things that have never been put together before, in such a way that the whole becomes more than the sum of the parts.

At the dawn of a new millennium, we live in an extremely complex technological world, where the boundaries between the natural and the artificial are becoming difficult to tell. The most significant aspect of the new technology is described by the word change. It is not simply a case of the new sets of social and economic relationships replacing older ones, but of new ones being replaced at a faster rate, with only those adapting to change surviving. This concept of change is not new. What is new is the change in the exponential rate of change, mainly produced by the tremendous increase in the rate of scientific activities and technological applications.

In the field of design education, the question thus becomes: how do we educate innovators, that is, people capable of perceiving change and acting from a paradigm yet to be invented? The schools of the future will emerge from this wings of change, and will prepare children to cope with the unknown, rather with what we already know.

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© Silvia Austerlic 2001