Definitions, like any other tool, can be used for good or for evil. :-)
To define is not *necessarily* to limit, but rather to identify. I see
defining things as an important reflective action. In thinking about how to
define design, I usually end up clarifying my own thinking about it.
And definitions need not be exclusionary; we can have hierarchies and senses
of definitions that are related and, altogether, far broader that the root
definition/sense. And we can just use a definition as a 'lowest common
denominator' - a referent we can point to in discussion, to help be clear. We
can agree that a definition is insufficient, but still use it as a referent.
And if we're trying to "push the reaches of design," (which is great as far as
I'm concerned) then we'll have to spend time communicating with non-designers.
To do that effectively, we must be able to explain what we do in some
sensible way. Definitions can help do that too.
Hornbuckle, Rosie wrote:
> I've been reading this discussion with interest and have to agree with Gunnar; discussions about the nature of design are helpful but all-encompassing definitions tend not to be. Any definition of design surely needs to refer to context. I prefer to think instead that design - or dare I say 'thinking creatively about problems' - has the potential to bring benefits in all manor of situations and fields, from politics to business to systems to Medicine... what we could be focusing on instead is how to push the reaches of design rather than limit, contain or pin it down.
> Not sure if I've inadvertantly had a go at a definition there...
> Doctoral student
> Kingston University, London
Prof. Filippo A. Salustri, Ph.D., P.Eng.
Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering
Ryerson University Tel: 416/979-5000 x7749
350 Victoria St. Fax: 416/979-5265
Toronto, ON email: [log in to unmask]
M5B 2K3 Canada http://deseng.ryerson.ca/~fil/