I recently stumbled across the fantastic book, Recipes for Systemic Change. The book is concerned with strategic design and provides several case studies of how it has been used to address pressing social problems.
I particularly liked this passage that speaks about design as a “middle path” between science and the humanities.
As a way of working and thinking, design sits between the two poles of science, which observes the facts of the material world, and the humanities, which interprets the complexities of human experience. Design takes a middle path and is primarily concerned with appropriateness, understood as that fragile quality which is achieved when the best of human intentions are realized with the constraints of reality. Design is a culture that blends the concerns of science and the humanities to search for outcomes that are balanced and opportunistic, grounded in the real world but driven by human aspirations. It is equally concerned with probing the limits of our current reality as it is with making new realities possible. Lately, within the design professions, a quiet revolution has been growing: is design about making or thinking? We see this as a false dichotomy and that the separation of thinking and doing destroys an important feedback loop which enables self-learning within a project or programme.