Design, an instrument of power


the idea
“…design is an instrument of power….thereby effecting changes in the attitudes, beliefs and actions of others”

“ the principles lies in the power of individuals to influence social life through mechanization and technology” (p.48)

“Design is based on science, but it extends its reach in addressing emotional needs through aesthetics”

[Buchanan, R., & Margolin, V. (Eds.). (1995). Discovering design: explorations in design studies. University of Chicago Press.]

The true test will be the degree to which our efforts to introduce design thinking into the management of organizations embodies the fundamental principle of design. (p.21)
[Buchanan, R. (2015). Worlds in the making: design, management, and the reform of organizational culture.5–21.]

The explanation
Above sentences were made in giving a context on the evolution of designers in organisation and expanding design as discipline towards philosophy and cultural content. All of this is happening in the new world of technological capabilities and masses of consumers from all social classes. The potential of design to adapt different rhetorical purposes and objectives were demonstrated drawing attention to its power to control nature, aesthetic appeal and spiritual life. On the other hand, extension of design can be seen deeper into organisational cultures connected design thinking to management.

the critique
Constructing and questioning , I have two concerns with this notion of design as a “power” and organisations being made “design-centric”. Drawing from the creation of universe, designing of tools, cave images and concepts of science that hold good until today, design seems to be having immense power in manipulating user’s mental models and paths of interaction. Today our minds must be able to synthesize such transformations, whether they are working across several time zones, drowning in information or acting fast in order to preserve a bit of down-time.Talking in technological-digital products perspective, a certain idea of interaction can be easily implanted in a user’s mind as much as it can be completely changed by introducing another product. As much powerful as it seems, it is that dangerous when not able to know the limits of values and ethics in design of such products. With the rise of artificial intelligence ( can’t stop quoting this), emotional needs are not just tweaked anymore with aesthetics but even dictating user’s next step through quick replies, smart suggestions, profile building,personalisation, etc. I was talking about emotional intelligence incorporated in products and questioning how far is good? (Wanted to always study dark patterns in intelligent agents and services) 
My second argument is about using this power to run an organisation. We can see the rise and flourishing of “design-centric” organisations. As much as I support that design has to be integral part of a business like most of the start-ups do these days, how much of this affects users