Design Science

"Design science," in the most general terms, maintains that faithful observation of Universe is the basis of successful invention. The idea therefore is not to invent some strange new gadget, hoping there will be a market for it, but rather to tap into the exquisite workings of nature

Fuller advocated the design science revolution as an alternative to politics, seeking to optimize planetary resources for the benefit of 100% of humanity. He coined the term synergetics to explain how design science could create rich returns, such as how "energy income" could be harvested from the environment. His main premise was that nature's existing and omnipotent order must be allowed to guide human designs, if they are to survive and thrive as a species.

  • the "optimize planetary resources" is very Buckminster Fuller
  • criticism of Design Methods Movement gave birth to participatory design, user-centered design, and design thinking; on the other hand "scientific" approach led to design science by Buckminster Fuller

Design science research in itself implies an ethical change from describing and explaining of the existing world to shaping it. The ethics of research concern the responsibility of a scientist for the consequences of his research and its results. Even though it may be questionable whether any research can be value-free, it is absolutely clear that design science research cannot be. Consequently, the basic values of research should be expressed as explicitly as possible. Adapting Chua (1986), Iivari (1991) distinguishes three potential roles for Information Systems as an applied discipline: 1) means-end oriented, 2) interpretive, and 3) critical. In the first case the scientist aims at providing means knowledge for achieving given ends (goals), without questioning the legitimacy of those ends. According to Chua (1986), the aim of an "interpretivist scientist is to enrich people's understanding of their action", "how social order is produced and reproduced" (p. 615). The goals (ends) of action are often not so clear, and one should also focus on unintended consequences. A critical scientist sees that research has "a critical imperative: the identification and removal of domination and ideological practice" (p. 622). Goals (ends) can be subjected to critical analysis.

— A paradigmatic analysis of information systems as a design science

Szymon Kaliski © 2022