Design, Development and Research (Sep 2011, Cape Town)

Dates: September 23, 2011 – September 27, 2011
Abstracts due: 2 February 2011

Papers, posters and proposals for workshops and symposia are invited for the first Design, Development and Research conference to be held on the Bellville Campus of the Cape Peninsula University of Technology, Cape Town, South Africa.
Please create your user account on the web site to be able to submit abstracts or proposals


Underlying any form of creative activity is the concept of design. This is underscored by the current emphasis on design research and design thinking.
Yet, whenever one asks a designer to explain design, they reply with some version of the “Addie” (Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation) model. And while everybody is happy with describing the whole Addie process, very few people stop to think what actually happens in that “black box” called “Design”.
Similarly when people talk about design research, they often concentrate too much on the process or the product, and too little on the underlying concepts and theories. The dilemma is to discover what actually makes it research.


This conference runs on four tracks:

Design: This track is about how design happens. It is customary for committed designers to speak variously of the genesis of their creations.  Intrinsically they all seem to address one question, namely, ‘what does a particular project want to be?’  This question not only traverses a wide range of fields but also transcends the more vain question of ‘what does the designer want a project to be?’, suggesting a natural and unforced interrelation between content and form in designs. It is here the convenors of this track see the essence of significant creations and would invite speakers to share their experiences of design, elaboration and execution of successful projects.

Development: The concept of development is relevant to a wide range of academic disciplines and professional praxis. This stream invites presentations or publications highlighting research with a developmental focus in the fields of ICT and design. Projects engendering cross- and multi-disciplinary dynamics are also invited. The expected research outputs should demonstrate the role of design thinking in addressing diverse problems and challenges affecting communities in developing contexts. Submissions should advance the discourse on the role of design, development and research, and may include innovative concepts as well as practical frameworks and theoretical models.

Research: This track invites papers about the relationship between research and design. Key aspects include design research, development research, design thinking, action research and general research methodology. Generally we are interested in how we extract research findings from the design and development process and how these findings in turn feed into this iterative process.

Dilemmas: This track is likely to be the most interesting; it is where all the papers that do not fit comfortably into the other themes will find themselves.  Don’t worry: we have a place for you which is more comfortable than rejection, even if it might be a bad fit.  The world dilemma means “a double proposition” (Greek).  As economist Herbert Simon said “Everyone designs who devises courses of action aimed at changing existing situations into preferred ones.”   So this is our preferred solution.  Marty Neumeier explains, “All design relies on heuristic thinking more than algorithmic thinking – meaning that there is no set path, no mathematical formula, for reaching your goal.  But you still need rigor and process otherwise you’ll drift from one thought to the next with no more hope of making sense than the proverbial thousand monkeys (infinite monkey theorem)”.  We offer HOPE to papers that are uncomfortable, but worthy.


Workshops and symposia: Proposals are invited for hands-on workshops, such as writing workshops, workshops on the development of policies, curricula or strategies.  Symposia would consist of pre-arranged scheduled talks by experts, covering a specialist topic.  Workshops and symposia already accepted include a writing workshop and a social media symposium.
Unconference: The unconference is a one-day facilitated brain-storming session around the themes of design, development and research.  Participants are invited to bring themselves, their experience, their understanding, their questions and their enthusiasm.

Target audience

All people who believe that part of what they do in their professional and career involves design. These include designers, engineers, graphic designers, fashion designers, IT specialists, systems architects, media specialists, industrial designers, architects, planners, developers.

Target dates

Peer-reviewed papers
Submission of abstracts (±500 words): 2 February 2011
Notification of abstract acceptance: 7 February 2011
Submission of full text papers for peer-reviewing: 15 April 2011
Notification of acceptance of papers: 15 June 2011
Submission of final (updated) version of accepted papers: 25 August 201
Submission of abstracts (±250 words): 25 August 2011
Notification of acceptance: 30 August 2011

Proposals for workshops and symposia
Submission of proposals (±500 words): 2 February 2011
Notification of proposal acceptance: 7 February 2011


About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

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