Crossing the Hermeneutic Gap

Part of the Design Research Foundations book series (DERF)


Design is often described as a synthesizing and solution-oriented discipline that deals with ‘wicked problems (Horst Rittel and Webber 1973). However, experiences from practice in design research tells and shows that analysis and synthesis are not two distinct separable modes of working. In this chapter we focus on one of the main activities of design, termed variously as ‘the creative leap’ (Verganti 2009), ‘jumping the hermeneutic gap’ (Hallnäs and Redström 2006), ‘frame creation’ (Dorst 2015), ‘building creative bridges’ (Cross 1997), ‘design is intentional change in an unpredictable world’ (Nelson and Stolterman 2003). They are all different notions and description of the same phenomena: how solutions in design practice escapes deductive reasoning and how design proposals will need to jump, leap, build a bridge and face insecurities that stem from making suggestions for the future we cannot fully predict. We propose drifting by intention. It is not black magic (Tracee Wolf et al. 2006), but basic human skill (Kees Dorst 2015; Nigel Cross 2018) that is exercised and trained in educational systems and brought to high levels of sophistication in research and professional practice.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of EngineeringSocio-Technical design, Aarhus UniversityAarhusDenmark
  2. 2.Design NextUniversity of New South WalesSydneyAustralia

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