Freitag, 27. Januar 2017

Design Science

Design Science asks the question "How to design for a certain context?".

At the moment, there seem to be several papers who define the concept. One early source is the book of H. Simon "Design of the Artificial" from 1968. Another interesting source is Prof. Roel Wieringa's work at the University of Twente who defines Design Science as a primarily constructive (technical) science with additional "curiosity knowledge questions":
Have a look at Fig. 2 on p. 4, in which Design Science is declared to be a 4-step research process with two constructive (technical) and two "knowledge" question steps:
  1. Problem identification (knowledge question)
  2. Solution design (constructive question) 
  3. Test the design on validity to the context (knowledge question, often empirical or experimental)
  4. Implementation of the design (constructive step)
Thus, Wieringa defines Design Science as a mixture of constructive (technical) science and curiosity (descriptive) science. 
 A typical crossover disciplines of Design Science are "Wirtschaftsinformatik" (business informatics) and "Wirtschaftsingenieurswesen" (technical economics). In the ACATECH paper of Prof. Schuh et. al., this is discussed. For instance, have a look at p. 52, Fig. 18, which depicts collaboration of engineering sciences and economic science. All mixed-colored phases are talking about Design Science.

The process of "digitization" (Digitalisierung) consists mainly of the trend that software business models replace classical product- and service-models. An important task will be in the next years to define strategies for "digital transformation", i.e., for the transformation of classic companies to software companies.

To this end, the University should develop courses about software business models, e.g.,  digital HW-SW-ecosystems with platforms and complements. Design science will play an important role for this task, because it is a crossover between classic technical science and descriptive research methodology. And as Wieringa has told us, we have to blend engineering with descriptive science.

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