Simon’s The Sciences of the Artificial is rightly influential as a founding text in design research in the information systems field (IS). This seminal book is widely cited for Simon’s ideas on design of technical artifacts. Simon’s contributions in the book to what he calls social planning and human design – practices associated with the development of societal scale artifacts that foster a “humane society” – are much less evident in IS design research. I develop, apply and expand on some of Simon’s ideas to social IS design projects such as IT-based civic networks. I define distinctive characteristics of such projects and offer an institutional conception of actors (designers) and actions. I conclude by outlining a framework for first order design – design of institutions and governance processes, procedures and structures to guide the instrumental activity of IS design.