The Design Way

Book Review, Salvatore Cucchiara
2014   unpublished
Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World (second edition) The premise of The Design Way is that in today's rapidly changing world, current intellectual traditions are becoming increasingly inadequate-if still important-approaches to managing human affairs. For example, hard and soft sciences can help us understand how the world works, but generally offer little guidance on intentionally changing it. To address this shortcoming, the authors advance design as a distinct tradition that finds
more » ... dition that finds its key feature in making a novel idea concrete. Accordingly, the main purpose of the book is to formulate a "philosophy" of design as a unique approach, on par with other approaches such as science and the arts. It is important to note that the authors do not see this philosophy just as an intellectual exercise. Rather, the value of this philosophy is in encouraging designers and others to participate in the creation of a design culture-a "crucible" that can nurture and protect both the activity of design and those involved in it. The Design Way consists of five sections. In the first section, the authors argue that design is a "natural and ancient human ability" that the rise of analytic and reductive modes of thinking has relegated to the margins. Unlike other intellectual traditions, which generally situate themselves in the realm of abstract thinking, design integrates abstraction with productive action. Fittingly, Nelson and Stolterman identify Hephaestus, master blacksmith of the Greek gods, as the archetypical designer. The second section of the book explores the foundations of design, that is, its most important principles. For example-the authors argue-design centres on creating something real (an "ultimate particular") on the basis of an ideal image and within the material constraints of the world. Design is also predicated on a service relationship, whereby one party provides an ultimate particular to another party. As a form of inquiry, design is systemic insofar as it involves multiple inputs and requires an understanding of the complex Harold G. Nelson and Erik Stolterman. (2014). The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World (second edition). Cambridge MA: The MIT Press Salvatore Cucchiara Book Review: The Design Way: Intentional Change in an Unpredictable World (second edition) www.