Culture defi nes the way and degree of our social
behaviour, our attitude and intervention on shaping
human life beyond and within the conditions supplied
Developed through social tradition and human
defi nition and interpretative manners, culture will
therefore always touch and modify human life, the
environment and society.
It contains therefore to a similar degree technological
processes, politically infl uenced skills, social
phenomenology as well as denaturalised (parallel)
Design within this framework is an essential part of
culture and has a marked infl uence on the development
of society and environment.
Nevertheless Culture on the other hand is an integral
element of design and will entail diff erent
interpretations, applications, use, understanding
and reactions in diff erent cultures.
In an intercultural exchange, in particular in view
of an increasing globalisation, probably more than
ever, challenges and responsibilities of the designer
are multiplied. Design generally being future orientated
and associated with innovative competence
anyway, needs to consider simplifi cation and
confl ict-orientation concerning the reception of its
output in particular, and to collective interaction in
Of course in view of intercultural integration questions,
design can only be one piece in the puzzle
towards an improvement of the social problem
Nevertheless, in the course of this paper, we shall
underline the importance, the use and the usage
and infl uencial possibilities of what we shall call integrative
competence, in particular as this does not
only refer to the intercultural aspects, but also attempts
a certain methodical design structure, which
can be applied interdisciplinarily (simply integrative)
to other areas of life, namely productive, didactic,
educative and knowledge gaining ones.
We are considering in this respect the coherence of
design and responsibility, in particular regarding the
identifi cation of process parallels of design and integration
concerning socially, politically and socially
relevant communication channels and sequences.
These latter will distinguish the dependence and
interrelationship between design and integration
education and didactic, as both incorporate a receptive
and productive and refl exive coherence.
As Erlhoff argues, Design as a “typical modern
undisciplined discipline […] can comprehend the
requirements and problems of our present time and
is being urged to develop ecologic, social, economic,
technical and cultural possibilities of precise refl exion
and solutions for these problems. […] Design
has implicitly always been there. It characterizes our
life in varied ways and merely needs the public and
specifi c awareness of its existence”. 
Man touches on design, design touches on man.
Consequently design (products, information, services
etc) is in principle being received, grasped,
adopted, accepted, refused, misused, interpreted in
some way – in spite of being used in a way in which
it was attended to be used or not.
Therefore design acts in unavoidable conjunction
with social structure, social and individual acting,
ergo with human (behaviour). If we characterise culture
as a symptom of how people treat each other
, and if we consider an improvement of interhuman
dealings desirable, then it becomes comprehensible,
that design might potentially become
an active helping part, especially if we attribute (at
least) the ability to design (if not even the main task)
to be a process-optimising discipline (e.g. in productive,
informative, artefact, acoustic, visual, interface-,
service- or coordinative matters).
Here becomes apparent a process-referred parallel
(to intercultural integration-process): Let us start
from the assumption of a heterogenic model of
society, which is based on the dialectic principle of
innumerable contrasts (e.g. generative, gendered,
cultural, religious, economic, ethnic, fi nancial, geographic
etc), then integration becomes a comprehensible
tool in optimising in defi cit societal process
(e.g. enviousness, discord, confl ict, prejudice etc).
Both – design and integration – have in common a
certain way of process: e.g. communication, simpli-
fi cation, optimisation, help, linking etc. Both support
therefore an improvement of (e.g. individual,
artifi cial, social) defi cits. And both can be reciprocal
Against this background it becomes reasonable,
that in social and design discourse confl ict and
debate are being constructively and productively
evident and useful. Without controversy, without
dispute, society in the end would be inconceivable,
and design became robbed of one of its basic innovative
mechanisms. Both the societal and design
improvement need and use the impulse of refl ection
as well as the interchange of information, knowledge
Starting out from Selles statement, that all our surroundings
are designed  leads us to the assumption
that design tends to have manipulatively stimulating
power. Not to be discussed, if its eff ects are
positive or negative, nor if they are lead consciously
(e.g. in provocation or critical design )
The investigation on Design as a basically integrative,
since communicative model, leads towards
the following question: to what extent can we use
the fact of designs societal relevance as a potential
useful model for social interaction- and integrationprocess?
And vice versa: To what extent can we use
confrontation with and through design within these
processes, to evolve innovative methods, products
and communicative models?
We shall focus on the following goals:
1. Develop a didactic tool to raise social awareness
as a motor for both social  and productive innovation.
2. Facilitate bottom-up social learning as a complement
to traditional expert-driven learning 
3. Motivate either design educative institutions or
innovation development categories in learning to
learn from everyday life situations in order to foster
innovative and integral strategies.
Value and importance
In this paper we shall equally stimulate the integration-
discourse and the common understanding of
design’s ability in optimizing process as well as its
We use this exploration as an approach to discuss a
didactic design theory in order to formulate a frame
of reference for design research and –practice.
Finding out, to what extent “designerly” methods
and strategies might be used in other disciplines
(e.g. concerning diffi culties in social interaction)
and vice versa, stimulates both the design discourse
and the interchange between design and other
sciences (e.g. sociology, anthropology, psychology
In this paper we shall focus on integrative processes:
The improvement of intercultural integration using
designerly methods, tools and strategies (e.g.
Entwurfsmethodik, researching practice, problem
analysis, surroundings research, system concepts,
etc), as well as the improvement of defi cit (social,
informative, structural) states through design, supported
by integral methodology.
Hanna Delf, Jutta Georg-Lauer, Christa Hackenesch, Jutta Georg-Lauer von Rowohlt: Philosophie;
Rowohlt, 1988, S. 111 ff .; ISBN 3-499-16310-1
Erlhoff , 1995; Translation: Bieling, 2008
Victoria W. Thoresen, Francois Jegou, Sara Girardi: Looking for likely alternatives (LOLA), ICSID 2008
Roberto Bartholo, UFRJ, ISCID 2008
Bartholo agrees with Ezio Manzini, who conceives social innovation with focus on the local dimension.
He also believes that “in order ‘to change the change’ it is necessary to fi nd the energy inside the local
initiatives, and designers’ role in this systemic change is strategic. Designers are to provide a bridge
between the internal and the external conditions of the change so that local experiences that show innovative
knowledge and possibilities can take place”.
Gert Selle: Design im Alltag; Campus, 2007; ISBN 3-5933-833-73
James Auger: Regarding Design Research; pg.92 ff . in: Roger Nr. 3; International Angst; 2005
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