Common Ground - a product or a process?
DRS conference, London, September 2002
dedicated to the White Knight, defender of Old-European scholarship
Fig.: Alice and the Red Queen (Carroll 1996: 151).
What does the Common Ground metaphor mean: solid rock, fertile soil, or swampy lowlands? Are we mapping the terrain or are we just constructing it because it would be comfortable to have one? We are in a historical moment, 40 years after the first conference on design methods, initiating the short "design science decade", when other disciplines realize the fragile, fluid, historical character of their "grounds".
On the lists and in conferences there are fierce debates, yet mainly concerning details of the respective positions. On the other hand ambitious perspectives are proclaimed, without being rooted in the community. Contributions reveal little reference to each other. Researchers rarely seem to take into account positions outside the material that supports their own views. Struggles for definition power seem to be going on, somewhere between evidence and eloquence. Maybe this is due to the imperative: "publish or perish"; at least here we have university level.
The paper presents a 4-step sequence of debate in a theory building process. This sample is then reframed twice, describing it as an evolutionary process and integrating it in a wider perspective of changing modes of knowledge production. Implications for design are discussed. My further intention is to initiate a novel form of debate, which might contribute to the communicative creation of Common Ground. The project "the basic PARADOX" poses the most fundamental question: are there foundations of design? The new imperative in academic design culture might be: "participate or perish".
Step 1: A new position
In two papers (Jonas 1999, 2000) I formulate my position regarding design foundations. The first describes design theory as "a floating network of chunks of ideas", without fixed epistemological core, acting in the interface region between shifting reference spheres: the contextual and the artefactual. Some deliberately provocative consequences from this view are, e.g. that there is no progress in design, or, that design is amoral, and has to be, in order to fulfil its function.
The second paper argues that design is acting in the "swamp", which is a provisional metaphor for the hybrid mix of the natural, the human, the social, the divine, which cannot provide foundations but only entry points to the field. Design has no foundations because design itself is the basic human activity. Foundations might be emerging patterns in the swamp.
In order to relate design to science I argue that science is also acting in this swamp (in their case called laboratory), but that science is obliged to purify and de-contextualize the facts constructed there in order to protect its mythical image of being closer to the truth than other ways of knowledge creation. And I ask whether design should follow this problematic path.
The following relates this to two other positions. Steps 2 and 3 describe a "struggle" over my view, leading to a kind of stabilization of essential parts. Step 4 takes up a new idea and tries to develop it within the context of my framework.
Step 2: Struggle with Ken
Friedman (2001) took a critical look at the papers mentioned. The following is an imaginary dialogue, i.e. I reply to his critique, concentrating on the questions of overall style and the issues of progress and foundations.
" These papers outline problems and issues without defining them. Opening the problem space allows us to reflect. Closing the problem space through robust definitions allows us to begin the search for solutions."
The basic problems mentioned cannot be defined in a manner you would accept; definitions are not available. The concept of interface clearly refers to Simon and Alexander and their notions of design as interface discipline. "Robust" definitions might kill the problem before the search for solutions has even started. The idea that the problem space has to be closed in order to proceed towards solutions is inappropriate. Since the early 1970s we could know that in ill-defined, wicked problem situations problems and solutions evolve in a parallel process. If at all, the problem can be stated when a solution is achieved. And then the solution is the problem! I am convinced that this is true for design problems as well as for design theory problems.
"The growth of design knowledge, the steady history of improvements in design practice, the dramatic development of design research, and the gradual development of design teaching, all indicate progress.
Progress is not uniform. Comprehensive progress is impossible. Nevertheless, there is relatively wide agreement in our field that we are meeting Bunge´s (1999: 227) definition of progress as a ´process of improvement in some regard and to some degree´ in all four areas of design.
The state of physics in 1895 offers a good comparison for our field. Because we are a different kind of field, we cannot hope to make the fundamental progress that physics has made over the past 100 years. Even so, we can hope to grow if we focus on a progressive research program.
Progress in research and in practice depends on prior art. This is another way of stating that progress requires foundations. If there is progress and there is there must be foundation(s). There is progress in design. QED: design has foundations."
I love circular arguments. But the circle cannot be traced back to some explicit axiomatic "foundation". The concept of progress you are presenting appears to be rather modest. In my old-fashioned view progress comprises (1) an increase in scientific "truth" (there is progress e.g. in physics; but in design?), (2) an improvement of the human condition, the claim that Galilei and Bacon stated for science (there is progress in many fields; but through design?), and, (3) the utopian claim of enlightenment thinking: better human beings (no progress here). But I do not accuse design for not showing much progress in this sense, because, as I argued, design is the agency of bridging the gap, the interface. There is no reference point for defining progress, but merely fit or non-fit. Is Mac OS X a design progress compared with OS 9, or just an increase in functional complexity?
Parallels with physics or even mathematics seem inappropriate. Maybe there are parallels to the situation of the Design Methods Movement some 40 years ago: an exponential growth in rigidity and then a collapse with important insights: that there are designerly ways of knowing, that design problems are mostly ill-defined, embedded, situated, etc.
I do not reject systematic inquiry. A culture of inquiry is evolving, which must not necessarily be the same as, e.g., in the social sciences. Refreshing and inspired designerly ways of inquiry are possible (Dunne and Raby 2001).
Step 3: Re-stabilization
Towards the end, after some 12.000 words, there is a considerable shift towards consensus, starting with the issue of reasoned argument.
"The arguments against the concept of foundations are intuitionist in nature.
It is possible to ask for reasoned argument from evidence without locating design in the context of science.
While I have argued that SOME forms of design practice, design research, and design education are and should be treated as forms of science, this is not the case for all forms of design practice, research, or education. In contrast, ALL design activity requires reasoned thought. Ideas, issues, and inspiration often begin with intuition. This is the context of discovery. They must finally end in reason. This is the context of justification."
I support the quest for reasoned arguments from evidence. But your article reveals no evidence regarding design foundations. Evidence cannot be replaced by eloquence. Regarding design, which, by metaphorical definition, acts at the "wavefront" between the actual and the new, it seems absurd to come up with the rigid and overcome logical positivist dualism of context of discovery vs. context of justification. Even in the "hard" experimental sciences there is a continuous multi-level path of re-construction from the experiment (or observation in situ) to the mathematical formulation of a "fact" (finished act).
We are still in a metaphorical stage. The design paradigm is trial&error, plus some analytic and projective tools, called methods, plus some mysterious human capacity called creativity (or chance?), plus some normative guidelines called style or fashion (or ideology). The same is true for the evolving artefact of design theory, which is located in the interface region between its evolving subject matter (design) and its evolving contexts (the reservoir of available theories). The Darwinian view, the use of basic systemic and evolutionary concepts, might be promising to transfer swampy metaphors into solid models.
"In the strict sense of Bunge´s definition, it may not be possible to establish an epistemological foundation for design.
In arguing for foundations, therefore I do not assert the existence (of) a stable anchor for all design knowledge. Rather, I point to foundations (in) three senses. One is the historical sense. The next is the philosophical sense of a basis in goals and purposes. The third involves the multiple senses of the kinds of knowledge, theory, and practice that different forms of design and design research may engage.
If it is the case that design is a hybrid field and the evidence suggests that it is then design can occupy several states at any one time, while serving as a forum of different kinds of activities. While some of these activities must obviously be at variance with one another, variance does not mean contradiction. There is no reason that design cannot take several shapes, permitting several kinds of approaches."
So we are very close to each other. No problem with these types of "foundations". Main parts of my argument are stabilized, even the network of "chunks of ideas" seems rehabilitated. There is the encouragement to proceed in the outlined direction. What remains is an uncomfortable feeling with your attitude of "knowing better".
"In some ways, we clearly disagree. I call for clarity and explicit description. Jonas seems to believe that metaphor best describes the qualities of (celebrates?) the hybrid swamp. If it were impossible to describe the wetlands, the science of biology could not exist. The science of complexity and the concept of complex adaptive systems allow us to describe a hybrid swampy environment without reducing its richness. This requires greater and more explicit descriptions, not less."
Bloedmann! This is exactly what I am arguing for. Nevertheless I acknowledge the shift from physics to biology.
Step 4: Fresh memes from Dick
In order to develop the theory I will borrow from Buchanan (2001: 6784). In stating, that "We tend to dismiss the way human beings have formed their beliefs in response to the natural and human environment" he explicitly introduces an evolutionary concept. His "ecology of culture" could well be compared to my "swamp".
In developing our paths of thinking, we depend upon the philosophical assumptions that stand behind our basic beliefs, the contingency of which is not made explicit, however. Mostly they rest in a pre-conscious state of mind. In order to render them more explicit Buchanan identifies or invents four "generative principles" as generators for the various, sometimes incompatible, patterns of design theorizing today. His scheme shows two dimensions: the phenomenal processes (A) and the ontic conditions (B), each with two typical faces, so that a nice cross-scheme is showing up, an example of theory as design:
The underlying assumption is "that design is best understood by our experience of it "
A1: Experience and environment.
The focus lies "on the problems that human beings encounter in their environment. It seeks to identify and integrate multiple causes of design rather than reducing it to a single cause. ". The four Aristotelian causes are showing up.
The focus lies on "the agent who performs an action. Design is shaped by the actions that human beings take in creating and projecting meaning into the world. This existential, operational approach is exemplary in its key features. It looks for successful examples of design practice in the past or present for models that may guide future ventures in designing. "
The underlying assumption is that there are "´real and ultimate´ conditions that determine design in human experience ".
B1: Underlying forces.
The focus lies on "underlying natural forces and material reality. The paradigm of design is engineering, since engineering is closest to the natural conditions that are the ´real and ultimate´ conditions of human life. This approach looks to the conditions that have shaped the past and seeks to project the trends of fundamental forces and movements into the future ".
B2: Transcendent ideas.
The focus lies on "ideas and ideals that transcend the necessities and contingencies of physical or material culture and the limitations of individual, personal experience. This vision is always oriented toward an ideal of beauty, truth, or justice that transcends and permeates the world of human experience, giving structure to meaning and values. ".
Thus an explanatory structure for the chaotic image of design theory building is offered. The scheme as a whole reveals a strong Platonic appearance, which Buchanan only attributes to principle B2. It seems to float in an eternal realm of ideas, producing the puzzling variety of the phenomenal world of design theories. But where does it come from? Can it be integrated into the knowledge production process?
The answer is contained in the scheme itself. Buchanan - between the lines - seems to be in favour of principle A1: Experience and environment. Humans´ experiences lead to personal attitudes, preferences, styles. In consequence, theories of how the world (or design) works will come up, according to those preferences. Buchanan´s four principles are one of these emerging theories, which, in turn, through their dissemination (Design Issues is an effective replicator) influence personal attitudes, preferences, and styles in the community, and which shape the further conditions of our experiences.
To sum up: Generative principle A1 seems to be a bit "more basic" than the rest, because it contains the other ones plus itself. This shows the fractal character and self-reference of design theory, and, this is important, allows to integrate the "Buchanan meme" into the wider process of knowledge generation.
Reframing 1: A Darwinian view - evolutionary discourse
Steps 1-4 can be interpreted as Darwinian mechanism of (1) mutation (2) selection (3) re-stabilization and retention and so forth: (1) Jonas introduces a new concept, which might be called a mutation, creative act, intentional provocation, or whatever an observer might prefer. (2) Friedman acts as a selective environment, contesting the proposition. (3) The chunk of ideas survives in this "struggle for life", the interaction of the system (Jonas´ ideas) and the context (Friedman´s critique). The concept is re-stabilized. (1´) A new appealing chunk of ideas appears which Jonas tries to integrate into his concept. (2´) Someone might act as a selective mechanism, and so forth. In contrast to a genetic process in biology this mechanism is a memetic process. The "chunks of ideas" that are transferred might be considered as memes or memplexes (Dawkins 1976, Blackmore 1999).
The basis of our learning processes, which are the epistemological core of design, can be considered as biological, grounded in the need of organisms to survive in an environment. The aim cannot be true representation but (re-) construction for the purpose of appropriate (re-) action. According to Aristotle the recognizability of the world must rely on the fact that there is a kind of similarity between the "particles" of the world and those in our senses. The history of biological evolution indeed suggests certain similarities of the way the material world is structured and the way we think of the world. Evolutionary epistemologists (Campbell 1974) argue that the Kantian transcendental apriori has to be replaced by the assumption of an evolutionary fit between the objects and the subject of recognition.
The evolutionary model of knowledge production presents a spiral scheme of learning / innovation with structural identity from the molecular to the cognitive and cultural level (Riedl 2000). The basic structure, described in concepts of the uppermost level, is a circle of trial (expectation) and experience (success or failure, confirmation or refutation), of action and reflection. Starting with passed cases, the circle consists of an inductive / heuristic semi-circle with purposeful learning from experience, leading to hypotheses and theories and prognoses about how the world works, and a deductive / logical semi-circle with the confirmation or refutation of theories due to new cases, etc.
Only very recently in the cultural evolution this general scheme was subdivided into the ratiomorphous systems of recognition and the rational systems of explanation / understanding, with its most extreme form: the logical positivist dualism of "context of discovery" vs. "context of justification".
Recognition (Erkennen) - Explanation (Erklären / Verstehen)
fitness, "truth" means strong design - "truth" means correct causal relations
prognosis is projection - prognosis is forecasting
networks, many causes - linear cause effect relations
simultaneous (simul hoc) - sequential (propter hoc)
4 Aristotelian causes considered - only causa efficiens considered
only local validity, context is crucial - global validity claimed, context excluded
allows no experiments, mostly irreversible - relies on experiments, mostly reversible
correspondence org. or artefact / milieu - coherence inside a system
reaches into high complexity - reduces complexity
is labelled "pre-scientific" - is labelled "scientific"
Table: Erkennen vs. Erklären (Riedl 2000: 53 55).
While the ratiomorphous process of recognition has a high potential in dealing with complex, evolving phenomena, it is not very useful for causal explanations, and vice versa. But this "dilemma" is not inherent in the nature of knowledge production, but rather a consequence of the dualistic concept, which we have imposed on the process. The path from recognition to explanation is continuous and circular, sometimes with dead ends. Our language is too poor, or, too much locked in the "black&white" tradition, to express the beautiful shades of "grey" between the poles. In design the primary criterion of "truth" might be consensus in a community. The crucial question is whether design really needs the purified notion of explanation.
We can refer to Cross (2001):
"The underlying axiom of this discipline is that there are forms of knowledge special to the awareness and ability of a designer, independent of the different professional domains of design practice."
Concepts of evolutionary innovation suggest similarities between the way the design process works and the way we theorize about design. These special "forms of knowledge" are the basic cycle of innovation and learning as described above. They are unspecific, because they are the formerly universal competence of humans dealing with their environment.
Reframing 2: Changes in society and knowledge production
Basically humans are "universal dilettantes". The functional differentiation of societies de-valuated this trans-competence. Design professionalizes the competence of "universal dilettantism"; the human poietic drive is compensated by Do-It-Yourself industries. High modernity believed in planning, predictability, progress, and in the inexorable "scientization of society". The 3rd quarter of the 20th century saw the peak of professionalization, the deficits of which have been described sufficiently (e.g. Schön 1983).
Since the 1970s we experience severe transformations in society and in the patterns of knowledge production, characterized, in a positive notion, as "knowledge society" (Bell 1973), or, more negative, as "risk society" (Beck 1986). Seen from a temporal distance, Nowotny et.al. (2001) characterize it as a shift from "Mode-1" to "Mode-2 society". The interfaces between state, markets, culture are increasingly blurred. The relatively autonomous spaces these systems occupied, were products of the modern differentiation, as was science. The scheme of functional differentiation is dissolving in parts. The new program of the French CNRS reveals this shift from traditional disciplines to interdisciplinary problem fields. Moreover, the CNRS introduces the institution of "citizens´ conferences" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung 26.03.2002). In Mode-2 society a new relation of society and science is showing up which might be labelled the "socialization of science", or, the shift from Mode-1 to Mode-2 knowledge production. Science and society become transgressive, i.e. not only that science can speak to society (it always could), but rather that society speaks back to science. Innovation is the centrepiece of a new contract between science and society.
It is mainly because of its success, that science has come under more pressure to deliver effective solutions to a wide range of increasingly complex problems. Thus science is being drawn into the production of contextualized knowledge.
- through the shift from a "segregation" to an "integration" model (discipline focus ¦ problem focus, or, science ¦ research),
- through the increase in uncertainty and more variation and selective retention through "success" that accompanies it (a Darwinian mechanism),
- through greater awareness of the place of "people" in our knowledge (actively involved in the production, conceptualised as either objects of research and / or as addressees of ensuing policies),
Mode-2 knowledge production implies that
- the separation of basic and applied research is blurred (e.g. quantum computers),
- the separation of natural and artificial, of science (what is) and design (what could be) becomes fuzzy (e.g. genetic design),
- the distinction of facts and values becomes a problem,
- the context of application is extended towards a context of implication,
- the focus changes from reliable to socially robust knowledge,
- the concept of "context of discovery" vs. "context of justification" becomes obsolete,
The "hard" epistemic core of autonomous self-referential science, which scientists have struggled to articulate and to defend, is weakening. The core is not empty but crowded and heterogeneous, which is not some sudden paradigm-shift from science to non-science, or from universal standards of objectivity to locally determined relativism, but the latest stage in a process of adjustment to an increasingly complex reality. Maybe the situation can be characterized as an uncoupling of modernization from modernity. The processes of innovation are separated from the values on which they were once assumed to rely. We have another paradox here: on the one hand, apparently, an alarming decline in science´s ability and authority to define and explain the natural world; on the other hand an unprecedented increase in its power to manipulate that world.
A "third way", a more nuanced and sociologically sensitive epistemology is needed which incorporates the "soft" individual, social and cultural visions as well as the "hard" body of its knowledge. Science moves into the agora (Nowotny et. al. 2001: 201):
"... Science is no longer outside, either as a cognitive or quasi-religious authority or as an autonomous entity with its special access to the reality of nature. ...".
Conclusion: Design as a non-modern discipline - science approaches design
Design, as a product of modernity, comes into being as a mediating interface between the making and the use of artefacts. Functional differentiation of societies is the paradox foundation of design; paradox, because, at the same time, design, as a cheeky "un-discipline", rejects this separation, permanently meddling in everything. In this sense it is orthogonal to the traditional strategies of modernisation. Recently I formulated three theses regarding design (Jonas 2001), which can be related to science and the concepts of Mode-2 society and Mode-2 knowledge production.
(1) Design must fit.
This refers to the interface concept of design. The growing contextualization of scientific practice shifts the emphasis from internal coherence of its findings towards fitness with respect to its contexts.
(2) Design never ends.
This refers to design as a projective discipline, trying to transfer existing situations into preferred ones. Once the problem is solved, the solution becomes the nucleus of a new problem. The new scientific criterion of social robustness requires permanent feedback with its context in the agora. Scientific problems are never solved (Carroll 1996: 151, 152):
"´Now! Now!´ cried the Queen. ´Faster! Faster!´ And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.
The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, ´You may rest a little, now.´
Alice looked round her in great surprise. ´Why, I do believe we´ve been under this tree the whole time! Everything´s just as it was!´
´Of course it is´, said the Queen. ´What would you have it?´
´Well, in our country´, said Alice, still panting a little, ´you´d generally get somewhere else if you ran very fast for a long time as we´ve been doing.´
´A slow sort of country!´ said the Queen. ´Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that! "
(3) Design is a special art.
Design does not have to be ashamed of its pre-rational relicts. There are mysterious aspects in designing, whatever we name them: intuition, creativity, or insights. Heisenberg, comparing mental images with their final mathematical models, suggests a complementary view of knowledge production, even in the "very hard" sciences (Miller 1996: 319, 320):
"... And, of course, then you try to give this picture some definite form in words or in mathematical formula. Then what frequently happens later on is that the mathematical formulation of the ´picture´ or the formulation of the ´picture´ in words, turns out to be rather wrong. Still the experimental guesses are rather right, that is, the actual ´picture´ which you had in mind was much better than the rationalization which you tried to put down in the publication. That is, of course, a quite normal situation, because the rationalization, as everyone knows, is always a later stage and not the first stage. ..."
Mode-2 science cannot be reduced to its weakening core of formal standards, but has to be recognized in its widening context. Scientific research practice is approaching designerly ways of acting and reasoning. Design has never been strictly modern in a Mode-1 sense, and the discipline should not struggle for modernity in a situation when science and society and other "Sciences of the Artificial" (BJM 2001) are leaving important aspects of modernity behind. Design can be conceptualised as an agency of modernization (innovation), uncoupled from the ideals of modernity, situated between the established scientific and professional spaces and expert disciplines.
Wiener (1948) argued that the promising fields for the flourishing of science are those, which have been neglected between the accepted disciplines. Cybernetics was a product of concrete design problems. Further disciplines may emerge from those fertile nowhere-lands. But design itself will remain in the swamp, or, more precisely, design will remain the swamp, where the potential paths of meaning can grow; or the not-yet-wired brain, where the axons search their connections: hypothetical, explorative, speculative
Schön´s (1983) epistemology of reflective practice should be transferred to the process of building theory / foundations in design. Common Ground is an evolving processual concept, not a system of standards.
Appendix: the agora http://www.thebasicparadox.de
The basic PARADOX is a web-based project with around 30 participants who submitted texts on design foundations. It is based on the hypothesis that theoretical approaches in design are rooted in personal preferences, biographies, academic backgrounds, etc. and are evolving in communicative processes of negotiating positions. It is my intention to make these networks more transparent, i.e. to make them visible in one exemplary process: "Hetero-assessment" is requested in the form of short comments on selected (or all) other texts. "Auto-assessment" is requested as an indication of the own academic perspective, placement, working style. The outcome will be a kind of "cross-impact" - matrix of positions which (if well done by the participants) might serve as a database for further analysis as to theoretical clusters, mainstreams, fringe positions, etc. Results will be fed back into further reflection. Or, as Buchanan puts it (2001: 74):
"Indeed, our ability to reconstruct design in the future may depend for its creativity on an understanding of the fertile matrix of contrasting ideas and experiences that constitute the ecology of culture in the moving present."
Beck, Ulrich 1986 Risikogesellschaft. Auf dem Weg in eine andere Moderne Suhrkamp, Frankfurt / M.
Bell, Daniel 1973 The Coming of Post-Industrial Society Heinemann, London
BJM 2001 British Journal of Management Volume 12, Special Issue on Mode-2 knowledge production, December 2001
Blackmore, Susan 1999 The Meme Machine Oxford University Press, Oxford
Buchanan, Richard 2001 "Children of the Moving Present: The Ecology of Culture and the Search for Causes in Design" Design Issues 17: 1 pp67-84
Campbell, D.T. 1974 "Evolutionary epistemology" in Schlipp, P.A (ed.) The Philosophy of Karl Popper Vol. 1: 413-463, Open Court Publishing, La Salle, IL
Carroll, Lewis 1996 The Complete Illustrated Lewis Carroll Wordsworth Editions, Ware, Hertfordshire
Cross, Nigel 2001 "Designerly Ways of Knowing: Design Discipline Versus Design Science" Design Issues Volume 17, Number 3 Summer 2001: 49-55
Dawkins, Richard 1976 The Selfish Gene Oxford University Press, Oxford
Dunne, Anthony; Raby, Fiona 2001 Design Noir: The Secret Life of Electronic Objects August / Birkhäuser, Basel Boston Berlin
Friedman, Ken 2001 "Problem and paradox in foundations of design" in Jonas, W. (ed.) the basic PARADOX http://www.thebasicparadox.de
- 1999 "On the Foundations of a ´Science of the Artificial´" in: useful and critical - the position of research in design International Conference, Helsinki, Sept. 1999
- 2000 "The paradox endeavour to design a foundation for a groundless field" International conference on design education in the university, Perth, Dec. 2000
- 2001 "Design - es gibt nichts Theoretischeres als eine gute Praxis" in Heureka oder die Kunst des Entwerfens, Symposion IFG Ulm 21. 23. September 2001
Miller, Arthur I. 1996 Insights of Genius. Imagery and Creativity in Science and Art Copernicus, New York
Nowotny, Helga; Scott, Peter; Gibbons, Michael 2001 Re-Thinking Science. Knowledge and the Public in the Age of Uncertainty Polity Press, Cambridge, UK
Riedl, Rupert 2000 Strukturen der Komplexität. Eine Morphologie des Erkennens und Erklärens Springer, Berlin Heidelberg New York
Schön, Donald A. 1983 The Reflective Practitioner. How Professionals Think in Action Basic Books
Wiener, Norbert Cybernetics or control and communication in the animal and the machine, 1948
Born 1953, study of naval architecture 1971-76 at the Technical University of Berlin, research on the computer-aided optimisation of streamlined shapes, PhD in 1983. 1984-87 consulting engineer for companies of the automobile industry and the German standardisation institute.
Since 1988 teaching (CAD, industrial design) and research (system theory and design theory) at the University of Arts Berlin and at the University of Wuppertal. 1994 lecturing qualification (Habilitation) in design theory. 1994 2001 professor for "process design" at the University of Art and Design Halle / Burg Giebichenstein. Since 10/2001 professor for "design theory" at the Universtiy of Arts Bremen.