THE PARADOX OF DESIGN METHODS: TOWARDS ALTERNATIVE FUNCTIONS

Kathrina Dankl

Abstract


During the last ten years design has been discussed as a driver for novelty and innovation. Design methods have been applied to challenges ranging from environmental pollution, food to health care and have been used in other disciplines and by people with non-design backgrounds alike. Social Innovation, Design Thinking and Co-Creation are three approaches that are strongly associated with this development. While their borders blur, their toolboxes – the methods they apply - are similar. Sustainability usually requires design methods that enable a participation in the design process of all interested parties. But while typical methods claim to favour multi-disciplinarily, they paradoxically lack emphasis on design knowledge such as communicative and aesthetic qualities. Through an illustrative case in sustainability - a multi-disciplinary team worked on the topic of food waste - this paper discusses the communicative and aesthetic potential of methods for transferring project goals to stakeholders and the wider public. Findings point in the direction of more advanced studies on the significance of core design expertise in multi-disciplinary and co-design oriented contexts.

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