Reframing Design: Design Thinking and Mediation Theory

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


‘Design Thinking’ has proven to be a fruitful way to deal with societal problems and challenges. But what does it in fact mean to approach problems as design problems? What does it imply for our ways to understand societal challenges, and for the ways in which we address them? In order to answer these questions, this lecture will further expand the “mediation approach” that has developed over the past years as a tool to understand and anticipate the impact of designed products on their users and social contexts. Not only the products of design activity, but also the activity of designing itself should be approached as a mediator: design thinking is not a functional tool to solve a problem, but a mediator in our very understanding of what a problem can be and how we could deal with it. Ascetic Design, then, takes this mediation perspective to Design Thinking. Its ascetic character does not consist in ‘refraining’ from design, but rather in ‘reframing’ it, as a highly mediated and mediating activity. Ascetic Design aims to give these mediations a central role, both in design activities, and in the design thinking that comes with it.
Original languageUndefined
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event4th Participatory Innovation Conference, PIN-C 2015 - The Hague
Duration: 18 May 201520 May 2015


Conference4th Participatory Innovation Conference, PIN-C 2015
Other18-05-2015 - 20-05-2015


  • IR-97879

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