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Law as Design

At Conglomerate today, I posted this note about Stanford’s Institute for Design, or “” Founder of corporate design shop IDEO and co-founder of the David Kelley says:

For any given project, multidisciplinary teams are formed that have a cross-section of students drawn from engineering, education, humanities, business and/or medicine. This innovative approach has allowed us to work on incredibly interesting projects. This year, we offered a unique class on how design can enrich the lives of autistic children and another using design to help subsistence farmers in India collect and distribute water to irrigate their backyard farms. Our industry project this year was with Electronic Arts on shaping the future of gaming.

A taste of my reaction:

Aren’t they missing a discipline? Where are the law students? Where are the law faculty? As one (non-law) colleague responded when I described my paper on the role of law in constructing “things”: well, law is design. Sometimes that means that lawyers tell designers what not to do.  Sometimes it means that lawyers can tell designers what they might try.  Either way, law is inevitably in the room, along with business development, finance, engineering, marketing, history, and behavioral psychology.  At Pittsburgh, I’m in no position to tell David Kelley and his colleagues what to do, but really, Stanford has some very smart people on the law faculty, and they should be connected with this enterprise somehow.