The Idea of Metadesignau_o

A Colloquium for Helping some Authors to Collaborate on a Possible Book

Concluding (Afternoon) session - DAY TWO - 29th June 2007
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2.00pm - Can We Measure Metadesign by its Synergies?

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See the whole video here (external link)

by John Wood (external link)

  • A high level of synergy is a likely outcome of effective meta-design.
  • Synergy refers to the accord that exists between individual parts of the whole.
  • It may also include the accord between those individual parts and their separate relations to the whole.
  • The commonly used definitions of synergy are too vague to be very useful.
  • The m21 project therefore defined 4 Orders of Design Synergy.
  • The first includes synergies that emerge from the sharing of data.
  • This might include smart materials, nano-scale metallurgy (e.g. 'gum metal' (external link)), or systems that transcend the human limitations of design (e.g. Buckminster Fuller’s floating geodesic city (external link)). The second refers to synergies that emerge from the sharing of information. This may be physical (i.e. thermostatic regulation of temperature (external link), or biological systems (e.g. Emperor Penguins huddling together (external link) to keep warm). The third order refers to more complex knowledge-sharing synergies (e.g. flying geese (external link)), or collaborative systems in which experience and skill become integrated (e.g. cooperation using tag-based web media (external link)). The fourth invokes the far more complex idea of wisdom-sharing synergies. (e.g. James Lovelock's Gaia hypothesis (external link), or what Buckminster Fuller called Nature's synergy-of-synergies (external link).

2.30pm – What Might Characterise an Ethics of Metadesign?

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See the whole video here (external link) ("'s ugly, and it's nasty, with a few exceptions")

by Clive Dilnot (external link)

  • Many socially responsible designers and theorists have asked how design could become more ethical.
  • Surprisingly, design is intrinsically ethical in that it embodies a characteristically donative gesture.
  • The designer, for example, conceives, creates, or enhances a product or service in the interests of somebody else.
  • In this sense it is always already a benign and empathetic act.
  • However, the presence of a formal axis of transaction between designer and client is also a potential impediment.
  • It may, for example, overshadow the perceived value of other, equally important transactions.
  • In an over-populated world everyone becomes implicit stakeholders in any project that utilses scarce resources.
  • This has changed the design agenda considerably over the last hundred years or so.
  • If design evolves into the far grander guise of 'metadesign' it is likely to generate unforeseen problems, as well as offering certain advantages. ...

3.10 - Designing Networks and Metadesign

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See the whole video here (external link)

by Professor Ezio Manzini (external link) (see his longer notes)

  • How can designers work for, with, and within the designing networks that surround us?
  • What conceptual and practical tools are needed to make society more sustainable? Today, “everybody designs”.
  • In other words, they have to consider themselves part of a complex mesh of .
  • Designing networks include the emerging, interwoven networks of individual people, enterprises, non-profit organizations, local and global institutions.
  • Designers may find a new role in guiding, facilitating and directing the new designing networks, using their special capabilities and skills.
  • They must grasp opportunities and make them more accessible, effective and reproducible. This new process can augment the traditional role.
  • Designers can, therefore, design in and for designing networks. They can also design for the designing networks.
  • Here, the role of the network is not always just to get a final result, but to create favourable conditions for the participants.
  • In Italy, the traditional metadesign definition is:

"...the design of a set tools, methodologies and ways of doing capable to support designers in a variety of design processes”

  • We can redefine designers to include not only the professionals, but also all participants in the extended designing network.

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