IDSA 2006 Day 2
EPIC conference 2006

IDSA 2006 Final day notes

IDSA Day 3

Bill Moddridge, sneak peak at ICSID and IDSA design conference in San Francisco CA, October 17-20, 2007 IDSA
October 11-14, 2007 AIGA
Masonic Center on Nob Hill. Call for papers in November.

Uday Dadavante, Sonic Rim

What is design? Design is an act nor an artifact. Act of bringing dreams alive. Cannot design an experience, people can have it.
Experience design – manipulating behaviors and emotions
Experience of design is the moment.

Where is design? Practice of design research. Only looked at design in MOMA, when into people homes and traveling around the world. Found things that were not like in the magazine. What makes the home a home, design as I learned to practice.

How can our design become a part of their experience? Understanding comics, give more detail see face as person, if give less detail see themselves. Own the meaning and experience the design. Creating tools for experience.


MP Ranjan, National Institute of Design
Lorraine Justice, Hong Kong Polytechinical Institute
Bruce Nussbaum, Businessweek
Klaus Klippendorff, Annenberg School of Communication
Doris Papanek

M.P. Ranjan: The Post-mining economy.

Design is changing. Role of design is expanding from materials to ethics, etc.

Sustainability “Space-ship earth” Bucky Fuller. Space-bubble earth is finaite tragile and fabulous. 800 miles diameter, 10 feet thickness of soil supports all life.

History of design from human intentions to create value. I love this definition of design. Fire 2 million years ago was a act of design. Mayan civilization designed the foods we eat. Need to put a new meaning to desing.

Electronic voting machine in India. 1988, understanding. Did usability testing of the electronic voting machine. Took 10 years for politics to say usable and reliable.

Projects at Indian Institute for Design
Bamboo for development; local production, consumption 1998
Bangalore, home composting system. Work for terracotta production, clean

Design as a human activity and empowerment needs to be "Hands on and Minds on" You need knowledge culture and sensibility.  He is currently working on cataloging the crafts of India. Handmade in India. 600 craft clusters.

Its about design for society. Bringing skills back to people. Giving design back to society: post-mining economy.

Note: This presentation will change my life forever. I have the true definition of design that resonates in praxis with what I believe about the relationship between anthropology and design. Dr. Ranjan and I had a long talk and I have found another kindred spirit and will work with him in the future trying to define the space of Design Anthropology.

Doris Papanek
She started with a video of young man doing exercises, jumping off of objects. She then asked the audience:
What were you thinking as you watched the movie? The movement
How did the imagery and music make you feel? Awe
What did you want to say? He is making his environment his own.
How did it make your body feel?

Her talk focused on the different types of learning systems:

She talked about design using learning systems to engage the working memory and the long-term memory in order to do better at "Retain, recall, transfer, and apply knowledge" or understand. She took us through her backgroung. She is married Victor Papanek’s nephew. She is into learning, developing Tailor tools to consult with students with learning challenges. She works with designers, building tools and strategies. Her son had learning struggles which got her into the field of learning.

Product environmental design is background,. She has worked with Xerox, Apple, Lotus, etc.
Interviewing users, looking for patterns in think, learn, experience
Work with kids with autism
Working with high school students learning ID

Designers can engage, motivate and empower by understanding how the brain works. With all humans, the brain works the same, but the experiences are different. How do you get into the head of many different users?

Last 10 years, more known about how we learn than in the last 100 years. Designers as educators as well, but students attend the school of life. Need to bring design to life within their context.

Main points:
Make choices wisely because students are counting on you.
Increase your awareness of how users think, learn, experience, and feel.
Actively engage with the user.

Lorraine Justice, Hong Kong Polytechical School of Design

7000 students applying for 30 positions
80 full time processors, 50 part time

1/3 European (love to discuss), 1/3 US (focused on the goal), 1/3 Asian (react more passively)

Managing global teams, you need to think how people are. We are now doing multicultural teams and it is fabulous.

By 2010 the PRD will surpass Taiwan’s economy with growth rates in the double digits.
Hong Kong 80% family owned. Have money but risk adverse.
China mostly government owned with party people. So have money for risk but no innovation.
Taiwan is mostly structured like the United States.
By 2001, Hong Kong was the largest overseas investor in the PRD, which total US$79 billion.
Innovation is key to growth. China throwing money innovation and engineering. 400 product design schools are a reality. Building industrial parks for industrial products.

Europe is positioning itself to do high end luxury goods and hand craftsmanship.
China is positioning itself with high end product runs and focus on design and innovation. Raised R&D to 2.5% of GPD.

Main points:
The US needs to maintain superiority as innovators, its in the DNA.
It years to build a good design research culture, we have a head start.
Organize industry and education teams to lobby Washington for design education.

Klaus Krippendorff, professor of Anneburg school of the communications

Studied communication and cybernetics in the US. Two solid legs in communication and design. Stayed in touch with design and coined idea of product semantics. Product is outgrowth of industrial area, when users did not matter. Shifted to idea of meaning, in which people in it. Now we talk increasingly about human beings.

Still preoccupation of objects. Technology has moved away from objects to interface, interface is the relationship. What people interact with or make with. Organizational design. If the design community does not capture the occupations, we end up just talking about beauty, aesthetics. Worried about: Design is dominated by creative geniuses which is a problem. We do not talk about teams. We do not talk about participatory design. The real issue of design is to denigrate design and give it away. The fashion is jump on the bandwagon for movements and then its dead. Talk about usability then its dead. We talk about sustainability. What is to be sustained the culture, nature? Using environmentally friendly. Emotional design? Are we emotion managers? Same as experience design. Do we design experiences? Or do we create the conditions for certain experiences? Jump on the bandwagon of fashionable concepts.

Adopting the criteria of other disciplines: production is not the other material. Marketing defines design as value added. Design is subsumed under marketing. Like there is not other value than selling value.

Design is cultural. There are lots of people involved. Involved with people doing things with each other.

Design has always been culturally insensitive. If defined object without cultural understanding. There is an insensitivity to cultural particularity.

Myopic focus on the user. Personas and the user are convenient props to argue with other people. When send students out. There is a distribution of users. Clients are users and stakeholders. Usability is a particularly bad concept, because it has opposite concept is not usable.

There is a blindness in the language of design. Framing things have implication of actions. Framing of an event is of considerable importance to action. Advertising does the same thing for design, by categorizing things as an intelligent objects.

Using of artifacts have something to do with the acquisition of meaning. People use objects because they mean something. Human beings do not respond to physical qualities of things but what they mean. Design is not focused on functionality. Design is making sense for other. Design needs to shift to others things, which is lost by the focus on artifacts.

Designers can be experts and making things meaningful to people. Can define new criteria.
Can develop on indigenous knowledge base and methodology. Can develop text books.

Note: I disagree with his statement and believe that anthropology can provide the knowlege base and methodology. Everyone there has this archiac notion about anthropology being about observing and not changing the future, but there is a historical context to that posturing, due to the self-reflection coming out of the discipline's relationship to colonialism.

Bruce Nussbaum, stories about cultural change

Grandmother looks and sounded like Frank Gehry. Be careful of what you wish for. At BusinessWeek, wished for greater coverage about design. Started in the 1990s, crashed in 2000s. There are six people writing about design. There is a greater emphasis and no longer have to push and sell. Big huge arms are coming out to embrace design. Now it is up to design. Business community doesn’t know what it wants. Afraid of the word design so prefers innovation. Innovation implies metrics and measurement. Has a techy root. More than half the time they are talking about design thinking.

Very difficult to change cultures. Tried to create innovation gym. Turn space into gym. Had to fight business week secretaries. Got okay for a couple of months. On the walls on all the walls, covered with series of photographs of inspiration CEOs. Changed the images and people started coming by and asked “Can you do that?” Others came by and said, “Can you do that?” We should run the whole staff of BusinessWeek through the conference room and fire those who say “Can you do that?” In three months, it was closed down by the secretaries and the art department put back the old images.

Great challenge is how to introduce design to schools.

These were really excellent presentations. IDSA is such a great place to be as a researcher. It felt more empowering and inspiring to be here that at the AAAs or AIGA. So I will go into EPIC next weekend with a renewed sense of purpose and a drive to really articulate the Janus faced relationships between anthropology and design.



Dear Professor Krippendorff,

I found your ideas very provocative. In terms of designers denigrating themselves, I am in agreement. Design should not try to be economics or physics, in the same way that anthropology should not have. I also agree that designers cannot claim to be the only ones to design. I just think that anthropology, as the praxis of defining what it means to be human, is a natural fit with design, as the praxis of creating human messages, objects, and experiences.

From your biography, I think that our differences has to do with our generational/institutional perhaps? conceptions of anthropology. Because of my training in anthropology was of the four-field Boasian tradition as an undergrad (1990-1994) and that my doctorate was completed at Stanford (1994-1999), I have never conceptualized anthropology as a field of passive observation and understanding. Boas, Mead, Benedict of the old school and Renato Rosaldo, Ahkil Gupta, Jim Ferguson, and Anna Tsing of the new school have all been anthropologists involved in as you describe “with envisioning a future, exploring it with others who might be affected by its possibility, finding the human and material resources of making it come true, and enrolling others into that project.” The popularization of the concepts of “tribes” “culture” and “ethnicity” was as much due to the efforts of anthropologists to reshape the thinking, policy, and behavior regarding “others” as their appropriation by those outside of the discipline. The failure of anthropology in terms of designing the future has more to do with its historically specific self-reflexive period as it distanced itself from its participation in the colonial projects in the US (native American), Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

klaus krippendorff

thanks for writing the notes from the idsa panel on design elements. of necessity, they are short, cryptic, and cannot go into needed details. only a few comments on what i said:

i am not worried about design geniusess or authorities in our community, but i like to point out that design is always for others, cannot succeed without others, and should take place in an environment of listening to other voices -- especially when they do not agree with designers' intentions. this is where learning takes place, where one needs to realize that artifacts mean different things to different people.

i suggested that designers do NOT denigrate themselves by running after the reputation of other disciplines and submitting to their criteria. yet, designers cannot claim to be the only ones who design. the most successful strategy for designers is to create a space that enables others to design on their own. in fact, this is done often without noticing, for example, when designing systems that allow users to select, compose, and realize things on their own -- think of lego -- but more importantly when computers are designed to be programmable and reconfigurable. it is in that sense that i suggested that designers must give design away. like poets, who cannot claim the exclusive privilege of innovating in the domain of language, professional designers should not live in the illusion of being the only ones who are creative in the human use of technology. they need to be merely better in innovating uses, meanings, and interfaces with artifact than non-professional designers do in everyday life. it is in this sense that i suggested that designers need to enable others to design their own worlds.

about anthropology -- and i am writing as a former student of cultural anthropology -- anthropology generally and ethnography in particular try to understand the cultual life of others together with their use of artifacts. true, to describe others with respect requires reflection on who one is and how one participates in the life of those one wishes to understand. but this task -- understanbding -- is different from design.

to me, design starts with envisioning a future, exploring it with others who might be affected by its possibility, finding the human and material resources of making it come true, and enrolling others into that project.

whereas the natural sciences focus on understanding what is, in the case of anthropology understanding how people live, designers should be interested instead in what is variable, what is learnable, what can be changed, improved, and this is a totally different kind of knowing. i would not argue that one cannot learn from anthropology, nor that ethnography could not make major contributions to a design, both have, but they would have to be used differenly from how they are corrently taught and practiced in academia.

this is but one example for the need for designers to develop indiginous knowlkedge, their own expertise -- not let others define what design is -- their own methods for creating desirable futures with available resources, and formulate their own design criteria by which they wish to be judged. the latter must include the stakeholders of design. i suggest these design criteria need to be made as persuasive as the computations of engineers and the statistics of market researchers, and the accounts by economist.

and yes, with a clear focus on human-centered design, there is specialized design knowledge to be generated and passed on. to not start from scatch with each generation of designers, defining areas of expertise, testing the validity of practical design methods, writing textbooks, making design degrees respectable, etc. -- all standard practices in all successful disciplines -- from plumbers to medical doctors -- would certainly improve the social and economic status of the design profession vis-a-vis other professions.

whoever is remotely interested in the issue of redesigning design should go to and get my book "the semantic turn, a new foundation for design," published by taylor and francis in 2006. it outlines the opportinities for design to be a great profession.

klaus krippendorff

The comments to this entry are closed.