In the latest International Journal of Design, Meredith Davis explores the question: Why do we need doctoral studies in design? This fantastic piece of work really got me thinking. Meredith talks about the control moving from the designer to those who we design for. She focuses on the importance to think less about users and consumers and more about participants and co-creators.
"This article makes a case for why design research is important to contemporary design practice and the deepening of the design disciplines, especially at this point in our history. It identifies the pressures on knowledge generation exerted by the shift from a mechanical, object-centered paradigm for design practice to one characterized by systems that: evolve and behave organically; transfer control from designers to users or participants; emphasize the importance of community; acknowledge media convergence; and require work by interdisciplinary teams to address the complexity of contemporary problems."
This graph shows the shift from designing artifacts to designing the conditions for experience. "This paradigm shift in the focus of the design process from objects to experiences demands new knowledge and methods to inform decision-making....influence of design within larger and more complex social, cultural, physical , economic and technological systems."
A snippet from Meredith's conclusion: "...development in this area will be slow without broader recognition that research matters to the future of design professionals and that the outcomes of design decisions have consequences in society."