Design Science is a problem solving approach which entails a rigorous, systematic
study of the deliberate ordering of the components in our Universe. Fuller
believed that this study needs to be comprehensive to gain a global perspective
when pursuing solutions to problems humanity is facing.
"The function of what I call design science is to solve problems by
introducing into the environment new artifacts, the availability of which
will induce their spontaneous employment by humans and thus, coincidentally,
cause humans to abandon their previous problem-producing behaviors and devices.
For example, when humans have a vital need to cross the roaring rapids of
a river, as a design scientist I would design them a bridge, causing them,
I am sure, to abandon spontaneously and forever the risking of their lives
by trying to swim to the other shore."
- R. Buckminster Fuller from Cosmography
Responsibilities of the Design Scientist
by Buckminster Fuller
Number one consideration on the part of the design scientist is the question:
What can I do for other human beings that will not trespass on any humans
nor frustrate any of the regenerative integrity of the environment?
What do I have the right to do that is going to affect other people? As
an example, let's say that you don't know it, but I can see that something
is going to fall on your head. I don't have time to warn you verbally so
I just jump in and pull you out of the way as this thing comes crashing
down. I don't think I am trespassing on you to arrange for you not to be
killed. But what if you were to say, well, supposing I wanted to be killed?
I would say that has to be your option. You didn't know that there was an
option­p;I did, and so I have the responsibility to turn that option
over to you. If you then want to jump out of the window, you can do that
The design scientist has the responsibility to increase the options of humanity,
not to decrease them. I must always be sure that I am increasing your degrees
of freedom. What I mean by degrees of freedom is directly related to the
question, what is your life? And how many hours do you have of it? And how
many of those hours are really free?
"Observation of my life to date shows that the larger the
number for whom I work, the more positively effective I become.
Thus, it is obvious that if I work always and only for all humanity,
I will be optimally effective."
­p;R. Buckminster Fuller
You will find that a great many of your hours are tied up because you and
I are a process. There are a great many involvements and relatively few
of them that you can actually direct­p;that are freely investible­p;towards
getting information or doing something about the information you already
have. So whatever the design scientist does, it must increase the proportion
of your total life that's at your disposal; it must reduce the restraints.
There are, then, many things which you could be unconscious of that could
destroy and/or preoccupy you. And there are many things that you are conscious
of that are going to take a lot of your time. The design scientist will
then develop artifacts that make it possible for you to do what you want
to do, while trying to continually increase the magnitude of your effectiveness,
reducing the restraints, and saving you time.
Design science is very broad, but it starts right here with what you and
I have the right to do.
Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science
Toward the end of Buckminster Fuller's last public speaking engagement on
June 26, 1983 he said, "People often ask me what I want to be remembered
for. I don't want to be remembered. I'm not doing what I do to be remembered.
I do hope what I've been able to discover and get out on paper, printed,
will be read, and the significance will be appreciated. But I don't care
about them appreciating me doing it. I want the people to appreciate the
significance of it. So they'll act that way."
And people often used to ask Buckminster Fuller just what exactly he was
and did? Sometimes he would respond to the first part of the question with
the now oft-quoted statement, "I am not a noun - I seem to be a verb."
In answering the second part he would most importantly insist that he was
not a specialist and would put forward his alternative, that he was a comprehensivist.
Just as often he would refer to himself as a Design Scientist.
And so the phrase Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science emerged as perhaps
the generic description of the initiative of Bucky Fuller.
So what is Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science (CADS)? It is certainly
a mouthfull. Or should we say a mind-full. Throughout his life, Buckminster
Fuller described CADS in various ways, at various times, to various, people.
Toward a comprehensive definition of CADS, in this section we look at some
of the things he said. We also look at the ways some people picked up the
concept of Design Science, in print, and ran with it.
In this section some of our associates­p;including some of Bucky's friends,
family and students­p;have defined Comprehensive Anticipatory Design
Science, and speculated on its relevance, now and in the future.As always
we welcome your thoughts.