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Thesis

Design, Innovation and other Paradoxes

Based on what I call »designerly theorization« the dissertation tries to go beyond the divide between theoretical versus practical approaches and inside versus outside perspectives. Designerly theorization is here an approach that raises theoretical issues concerning »innovative design«. It is done from an inside design perspective applying design methods – or mindsets – rather than established methods of scientific inquiry. By a reversed approach, where a ‘practical design attitude’ is applied on the ‘theoretical domain’ and where ‘theoretical cases’ is preferred instead of ‘practical cases’, new perspectives are revealed. As an example, the discourses of feminist theory turn out to be, what I call, a »generative context«. Sandra Harding’s ‘design’ of the concept »strong objectivity« becomes in itself a case that demonstrates the process of innovation. And in contrast to »reflecting« about how things are, Donna Haraways concept »diffraction« turns out to be a more appropriate metaphor in order to understand a design mindset based on how things ought to be. Basic mindsets of design, like how it »ought to be«, are pushed to their logical extreme and are continually contrasted by their ‘dichotomies’; in this case the dominating scientific mindset of »how things are«. In fact throughout the thesis »differences« are utilized more than »essences«; so, for instance, innovation is described in contrast to optimization and design to evolution. To summarize; from my own »standpoint« as an industrial designer, I suggest how a theoretical design discourse ought to be designed if it had to be done by designers. In the process I hope to convey new, practical and generative perspectives on elusive concepts like »innovation« and »design«.

Keywords: Innovative Design, Industrial Design, Generative X, Designerly Theorization, Design Science, Feminist Standpoint Theory

Edeholt, H.(2004). Design, Innovation and other Paradoxes. Sweden: Chalmers University of Technology