Overview

"Heaven and Earth are not partial. They do not kill living things out of cruelty or give them birth out of kindness. We do the same when we make straw dogs to use in sacrifices. We dress them up and put them on the altar, but not because we love them. And when the ceremony is over, we throw them into the street, but not because we hate them."

- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching (translated by Red Pine [38])

The concepts presented in this section are boundary objects (Ehn et al, 2014 [39]), an embodiment of the strategy crafted in this research project, created to give form to the actions and hypotheses that I designed.

Just like the straw dogs that Lao Tzu talks of in Tao Te Ching, the design of concepts is not the primary purpose of my research project. They may well be discarded, yet their purpose is to enable learning, and make action possible in a complex system - to probe, sense and respond to the emerging challenge.

As Dunne & Raby note in “Speculative Everything” [40], the purpose of designing “things” can be to speculate and explore possibilities to make the future more real and more malleable. The concepts are embodiments of scenarios (Meroni, 2008 [41]) whereby a preferable future is pulled more sharply into focus.

As Meroni et al [42] put forward in their paper “Design for social innovation as a form of designing activism”, the role of the Designer can be to become embedded in the problem space in an open form of action research, to catalyse action and energy towards change desired by a community or system through prototyping.