Trusting scientists, questioning facts, and design

Mad Scientist
Trust me. I'm a scientist.

Ars Technica recently reported on a survey carried out jointly by Scientific American and Nature about the level of public trust in scientists and their opinions.  The results indicate clearly that people trust scientists.  Unfortunately, I’m not sure we can trust these results.

Don’t get me wrong.  I am definitely a member of the species Homo Scientificus1 – I know that science works, and that there are no known alternatives that can outperform science as a means of understanding reality.  But there’s a problem with this survey that undermines the argument it makes.

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The impact of balance in design

Balanced rocks
Designing is balancing.

I have written previously about balance. I proposed that one can model a situation as a set of forces (economic, technological, societal, etc.) that balance one another, and that if the current situation is not coincident with the balance point, then their difference represents a perceived need.

Design plays a pivotal role in this model as the means by which imbalances are addressed by trying to move the current situation toward the balance point. As such, I think of designing as more balance-seeking than problem-solving.

In this post, I want to examine some of the implications of this for design thinking and designing as a human activity.

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Design Needs To Be Its Own Thing

design thinking
I think therefore I design

On 19 March, BusinessWeek published a piece by Bruce Nussbaum on the future of design, in which the author previewed a talk he gave to a group of design thinkers.  While I agree with some of his points, I really wince at the thought that Nussbaum’s vision might be the future of design.

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