Everyone who designs devises a course of action aimed

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Everyone who designs devises a course of action aimed at changing existing situations
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into preferred ones. The intellectual activity that produces material artefacts is no different fundamentally from the one that prescribes remedies for a sick patient or the one that devises a new sales plan for a company or a social welfare policy for a state. Design, so construed, is the core of all professional training: it is the principal mark that distinguishes the professions from the sciences. (Simon 1982) This quotation proposes a methodology of design which Herbert Simon differentiates from the methodology of science. He also points out the very wide-ranging nature of that methodology which has application well beyond his own concern with artefacts. His comment illuminates one main reason why confusion exists over the place of design in organisations, and why there is a need to identify and later specify some landmarks in the process that is design. Simon limits his definition of design to artefacts, that is, man-made things; although he is also concerned with systems of artefacts, and how the individual artefacts within such a system relate to each other. We have adopted that limitation. However, we are also concerned with and how people in organisations understand and make various contributions to the planning, strategies and goals surrounding those artefacts and systems of artefacts. Our working definition of design is therefore: a course of action for the development of an artefact or a system of artefacts; including the series of organisational activities required to achieve that development. It is important to point out that this definition is not so exclusive as to encompass merely the activities of the professional designer, a limitation which we abandoned at an early point in our investigation. If this definition seems narrow it is worth emphasising that artefacts pervade industrial organisations. They comprise the products Silent Design 55 which a manufacturing organisation makes and sells or a retailing organisation buys in order to sell, or the products used by service business to provide its service. They also embrace those artefacts like buildings and equipment which go to make up the physical environment which constrains or enables the organisation to achieve its purposes. In this context we include the work of the architects, engineers, interior designers and space and environmental planners. Finally they also cover the artefacts which make up the information systems through which the organisation communicates its purposes to its various audiences (e.g. employees, shareholders, customers); and include everything from annual reports to advertising material. This means that although we begin with a simple definition, it has to span numerous activities usually planned and managed in different parts of the organisation in different functional departments.
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