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DG413: Anti Dogmatic Design


Prof. Dr. M. Rauterberg
Department Industrial Design,
Designed Intelligence Group, Eindhoven University of Technology
Actual time and location will be announced via email to all subscribed students (max. 16).


This assignment need 50 hrs work in total, number of weeks depends on the actual period length (min 4 weeks).

After following this assignment students should be able to:

  • To liberate your design approach from pre-established cultural and design methodologies constrained by existing dogmas (social, religious…) and to investigate novel, different or counter-intuitive design ideas.
  • Attending short introduction presentations with discussions.
  • Surveying, investigating and reviewing some established design methodologies.
  • Identify one or more existing dogma(s) and describe their ‘protecting’ taboos. You will focus on topical and/or contemporary dogmas.
  • Proposing a design idea that breaks free of the existing taboos around the chosen dogma to go beyond standard design solutions.
  • Implementing your design proposal in a product, service or design guidelines.
  • Having developed extensively the Socio-Cultural Awareness and Design Research Competency. You will investigate, review and report on a design methodology/principle based on an anti-dogmatic approach that has a very strong influence on design.
  • Intermediate to advanced level (depending on your commitment).

Previous Knowledge

  • At least 2nd years or above only with previous developments of the Design Research or the Ideas & Concepts Competencies. You have to be very open-minded.


Dogma is defined as: An authoritative principle, belief, or statement of ideas or opinion, especially one considered to be absolutely true.( )
Most of all existing dogmas are protected by taboos, and often therefore ‘invisible’ (out of the normal scope of awareness and perception).

To come up with a sustainable design idea (which can last for a long period), anti-dogmatic design can be a possible way to go.

Literature is provided through this web-page (see below). Additional information throughout the assignment will be provided via the assignment emails distribution list (make sure that your email address is on this list!).

Assignment work

The feedback for this assignment will be determined by the work done on the set of deliverables (see below). Each deliverable will cover a number of steps relevant for planning, applying and conducting a combination of different approaches. Furthermore, they will include discussions about the trade-offs of the decisions taken and the validity of the justification of made decisions. Feedback will be determined based on the rigour with which the work is done, whether relevant concepts discussed in the assignment are embedded in the work and the report, and extra initiative to ensure good quality of work.

Deliverables [Dx] Date due
Presentations in electronic form
[D1-D6: have to be included on D7 as PPTs, video, etc]
2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and final meeting

D1: Presentation(s) (ie. PPT) from 4er-team about chosen dogma.

: Presentation(s) (ie. PPT) from 2er-team about conceptual design.

: Presentation (ie. PPT + video) from each individual about design and user test/feedback.

: Individual written report (part 1: description of the chosen dogma and taboo(s); part 2: description of the reasons why this dogma (and related taboos) exist; part 3: risk analysis (individual and societal level) of breaking the chosen dogma; part 4: conceptual design idea to break this dogma; part 5: design guidelines for a product/service design that could break the dogma; part 6: users/stakeholders' reactions; part 7: reflection on your own emotional experiences throughout this design process; list of used references)

[report should follow the recommendations in this guide]


D5: Portfolio of design sketches; i.e. drawings, models, etc. plus manual (incl. scenarios of use)

[also has to be described as text in the report D4, part 4 & 5]

: Video clip with design/prototype and user reactions.

[also has to be described as text in the report D4, part 6]


[D7: the proposed design have to be in addition to the report documented as video clip with audio explanations in English; stored on D6]

two days after final  meeting

D7: all deliverables D1-D6  delivered on a CD per individual student handed in to the assignor's pigeonhole (HG 2.33), secretariat (HG 2.34), or himself (HG 2.36).

three days after final meeting

Assignment schedule






Introduction in the basic ideas:

lecture-introduction [PDF]
Assignment: Please discuss and prepare a PowerPoint Presentation about the definition and some good examples about the following concept:
* Dogmas & * Taboos
Distinguish clearly from:
* Habits, * Rituals, * Stereotypes 

See e.g. Wikipedia: Dogma and Taboo

food for thoughts:
Zeitgeist Movie (a must to watch!)
Brad Bushman: Media & Violence
Anthony Dunne: BioLand [text]
Dunne & Raby: Design for Debate
Nick Epley: Science or Science Fiction?
Jacque Fresco: Future by Design
Ricky Gervais: The Invention of Lying
Global Creative Leadership Summit [2006]
Benjamin Libet: Free Will
Mao & Kissinger: Power&Sex
Jack Petrancker: The Taboo of Subjectivity
Ryohei Nakatsu: Future of Entertainment
Wim Rietdijk: Evil, Sex and Power

Recommended literature:

BROCKMAN, John (2002, ed.) The next fifty years. ISBN 0753817101.


CAILLOIS, Roger (2001) Man and the Sacred. ISBN: 0252070348

CAMPBELL, Joseph (1990) Transformations of Myth Through Time. ISBN: 0060964634.

JACOBS, Anka (2012) Cross-Cultural Communication. ISBN: 9789001807771


JOHNSON, Phillip E. (2002) The Right Questions: Truth, Meaning & Public Debate. InterVarsity Press.


MILTON, Richard (1996) Alternative Science: Challenging the Myths of the Scientific Establishment. ISBN: 0892816317.


PIKE, Albert (1909) Digest Index of Morals and Dogma. ISBN 0766142442.


SHELDRAKE, Rupert (2012) The Science Delusion: Freeing the Spirit of Enquiry. ISBN 1444727923

WITHAM, Larry (2003) By Design: Science and the Search for God. ISBN 1893554643.

2nd meeting Each 4-student team present the chosen
dogma and explains why the presented 'dogma' is a dogma and why it is worth to attack this dogma; what kind of impact and effects to individuals and society can be expected.
First of all: Free your mind !

3rd meeting

Each 2-student team present at least 3 draft concept ideas. Each concept consists of the original idea and possible usage scenario(s).

4th meeting Each 2-student team present 1 well worked out (!) concept. This concept consists of the original idea, typical usage scenario(s), a portfolio of design sketches plus usage manual, and risk analysis. try a 'usage scenario'

final meeting

Each individual student present the working 'prototype' (ie. whole or an important part of the whole concept); this can be done in different ways (e.g. tangible product(s) plus description how to use, usage scenario(s), etc.). Additionally, each individual student present the results of a small evaluation (to be documented in a video clip).

overview over evaluation methods

e.g., how to perform a
'formative evaluation'


Student Feedback

Students will be working in four person teams till 3rd  presentation; for the second part of this assignment students will work in two person teams, and after that till final presentation each student works individually; s/he will get feedback based on the quality of the written reports/documents and the presentation given using a 5 level scale [not done; almost done; done; well done; very well done] and in constructive written feedback via the assignment feedback form.