What Is Design? Why Do We Need It?

  • Bela H. Banathy
Part of the Contemporary Systems Thinking book series (CST)


Developing an understanding of systems design in the context of social systems is the task of the first four sections of this chapter. The last three sections discuss the rationale for acquiring competence in systems design. Section 2.1 contains definitions of design as quoted from design scholars and characterizes social systems. Section 2.2 clarifies the meaning of design by distinguishing it from planning, improvement, and problem solving. Section 2.3 describes design as disciplined inquiry and its relationship to other modes of inquiry is shown. Section 2.4 explores the characteristics of design situations. Section 2.5 defines “design culture” and differentiates it from the cultures of the sciences and humanities. Section 2.6 explores various modes of how people relate to change. Section 2.7 asks the questions: Why is it important to develop competence in systems design and, particularly, why is it important at this time?


Social System System Design Design Problem Problem Situation Organizational Mode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bela H. Banathy
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.International Systems InstituteCarmelUSA
  2. 2.Saybrook Graduate SchoolSan FranciscoUSA

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