Shared memory in design : a unifying theme for research and practice

Abstract: "This paper presents a new unifying theme for design theory by emphasizing the importance of context. We arrive at our conclusions by examining and then refuting the legitimate bases for universal methods in design upon which he [sic] critical importance of context emerges. The collaborative aspects of design focuses attention on the conception of shared meaning. We introduce and elaborate the concept ofshared memory as the embodiment both of context and of shared meaning. Using 'shared memory' in vertical and horizontal forms, within and between disciplines respectively, we both account for past observations of design in practice and recommend actions to improve design in the future.We examine several practical implications of the growing importance of institutionalized shared memory and are able to recommend specific research programs which will help designers make better effective use of this critical resource."