She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation (Jan 2022)
DARN (Part 2): An Evidence-Based Research and Prototyping Method for Strategic Design
Published in two parts, this article presents an evidence-based research and prototyping method for strategic design. In Part 1, we introduce the concept of DARN as an updated version of Actor-Network Theory (ANT). DARN is a theoretical framework used to study, rearrange, or remake the constituents of an organization or problem universe. In Part 2, we propose that DARN can be used to for several purposes. (1) It can help organizations reach their stated objectives. (2) It can define, darn, or solve organizational problems with evidence-based and collaborative design interventions. (3) It allows us to imagine new organizational models with complex and distributed agency considerations. (4) It can improve and measure the impact of design interventions within organizational strategy. The DARN approach is critical of social engineering and design solutionism. This approach proposes using collaborative strategic design in sector-agnostic organizational contexts to support designers in problematization, research, conceptualization, prototyping, testing, and impact measurement. Further, DARN presents a single frame that designers and scientists can use simultaneously without imposing an a priori language on each other. It can also serve other actors with whom they work and study. The article concludes with a practical discussion of how to apply DARN on the ground while considering its limits.