Design Methodoology / Philosophy of Design course, 4th year

Started the course on Design Methodology / Philosophy of Design for the undergraduate Media Design program at NABA, fine arts academy in Milano. This is the fourth time; it began back in 2003, when the issue of methodology in design to me was the point where some very practical professional concerns (I was a middle manager in a then 300 people Web design and digital marketing agency) met the discovery of J.C. Jones seminal books.

This is also the year in which I managed to write a short paper about the course and get it through in a scientific conference (HCIed 2008; see the publications page for download).

I copied below some text from an early version of my contribution, dropped out in the revision process. The studies director mentioned at the beginning is Francesco Monico.

“Four years ago the studies director of the undergraduate media design program at NABA-Nuova Accademia di Belle Arti, a design school and fine arts academy in Milano, Italy, questioned around the possible shape of a foundational course on design methodology. The need was to propose something different and beyond the specific methodologies already covered by other foundational courses in various design disciplines. As the media have largely overcome their traditional boundaries to spread over a vast range of contexts and industries, with design challenges that cut across the domains of creative production, science and technology, it seemed sensible trying to nurture the ability to think about the possible ways to structure the act and process of designing, in broad and radical terms.

The immediate and slightly provocative reaction of the author was to urge whoever was put in charge to go straight back to the very heart of the word and the concept of method, starting perhaps with some pages of a classic like Descartes Discourse on Method, and ending maybe with the harsh but sophisticate criticism of any methodology in often cited (but lesser known) Paul K. Feyerabend Against Method. To the author initial surprise, the provocation was not turned over; for three years on (and with the fourth coming soon), students have been engaged in a detour from early modern philosophy to contemporary epistemology, to be followed then by a proper investigation of the design process along the lines of a standard book on design methodology, John C. Jones Design Methods. The insisted questioning on the meaning and nature of method is also played out in two practical ways: one is role playing and collaborative dynamics in group games, the other is nonfictional writing”