Design is, literally, to take away the sign of something. To remove the symbol, and make real. De sign, un sign, remove sign.
“We are increasingly confronted with problems that require different solutions—the ‘exceedingly complex systems’ that modern sciences cannot tackle.” —T. H. Abraham, Science Magazine, August 13, 2010 p. 760.
Design can be a useful tool when attempting to understand and intervene in complex systems. Learning the design— the structure and function of a complex system, and the role it plays in the larger systems of which it is a part, is a useful methodological tool set. And, when figuring out the solutions to complex problems, so too is the idea of asking ‘what should the system look like?’ If the problem being addressed is a basic human need problem or a sociological problem, asking and postulating what the system in question should be like if it were to meet all the needs that are desired of it is a useful tool.