Cutting Cubes Out of Fog: The Whole View of Design

Abstract

In this article we argue that the field of design evolved to include helping organizations address complex problems in the face of uncertainty, but it has yet to build knowledge in a way that formalizes the various activities embraced by the field. We use our relationship with the school of public health at Harvard to illustrate the advantages of formalizing design knowledge more explicitly. We introduce the Whole View model to provide the field of design with a tentative structure for its knowledge that could make it easier for design and other fields to work together. We situate the model in the context of different types of design education, and show examples of how the Whole View provides a structure for teaching, research, and practice. We conclude by introducing a new agenda for design centered on the well-being of people, organizations, and the natural environment, with health, happiness, and prosperity as the levers driving change.

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