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Session Overview
Track 1 Session 2
Monday, 03/Aug/2020:
11:00am - 11:40am

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Exploring Communication and Collaboration in Two Multi-Stakeholder Design Thinking Tracks

Claudia Louisa Adriana van den Boom, Rens. G. A. Brankaert, Yuan Lu

University of Technology Eindhoven, Netherlands, The

Difficulties in social interaction and communication may arise when stakeholders from various organizations and backgrounds collaborate. This might lead to frustration and may even lead to project failure. However, collaboration is necessary to address wicked problems.

To investigate collaboration, the interaction between stakeholders should be understood as well as their value and contribution. Communication is crucial in this, and by examining and supporting communication in multi-stakeholder processes, we might enhance collaboration.

For this study, we followed two multi-stakeholder Design Thinking tracks focusing on innovations for youth services. These two tracks, of five multi-stakeholder meetings each, were observed, recorded, and transcribed to find facilitators and barriers in collaboration through a qualitative inductive approach.

Findings suggest stakeholders tend to share their knowledge and skills. Moreover, stakeholders used synonyms and analogies to create a common ground for conceptual thinking. Three practical guidelines were formulated, based on the data.

The first practical guideline refers to the use of frames of references by participants. Frames of references were used during the ideation phase to explain a concept by example of a familiar concept, by comparing a concept to an already existing concept, and by linking to examples derived from experiences. The second practical guideline suggests that stakeholders actively look for shared opinions and ideas to build consensus. The third practical guideline refers to the tendency to share knowledge and skills linked to the participant’s discipline.

Based on the findings a tool was designed: Behind the Box, to illustrate how the guidelines could be applied to enhance communication and collaboration in a multi-stakeholder design process.

The Bonding Gap Between Proficient Designers and Their Prototypes

Birgit Jobst1,2, Katja Thoring1,2, Petra Badke-Schaub1

1Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands; 2Anhalt University, Germany

In order to investigate how far young design professionals are aware of the value of prototyping, we conducted a survey study with 54 proficient designers (all with a completed Bachelor’ degree and an average of two years of professional experience) and in-depth interviews with ten outstanding designers (at least 15 years of professional experience). We included questions about the perception, use and assessment of prototyping in their practice. The survey results revealed a tendency that young design professionals were not able to make use of all benefits of their prototyping activity. They did not show a strong attachment to prototyping. To further integrate and understand these findings, we conducted in-depth interviews with ten outstanding designers, which indicated significant differences in comparison with the proficient designers. The benefits and values of prototyping were much more appreciated and internalised by the outstanding designers. In contrast, the proficient designers did not use prototyping in a detailed way to reflect on the incorporated design idea. They did not reflect on their prototypes to reduce the complexity of the problem. Overall, they did not appear to have supportive experiences with prototyping and seem to perceive prototyping rather as a required necessity. Proficient designers use prototyping activities but seem to fail to understand its full value. We call this phenomenon the ‘bonding gap’. Our study findings call for new approaches in educating design professionals. We identified a need for innovative tools or better on-the-job training fostering the reflection on prototypes and thus improve the designers’ capability to assess and judge an idea’s potential.

Recognizing Strategic and Operational Differences in Product Design Praxis: Workflows for Innovative Product Development

Wayne Chung

Carnegie Mellon University, USA

Studio-based design processes and design thinking have had an ongoing impact on a broad range of industries and institutions. The manner in which the design field addresses a problem results in innovative output or enables teams to think and work in more innovative ways. As design thinking and processes are introduced to non-design fields, the generally recognized double-diamond design process is used to represent the intended strategic design workflow. This allows viewers to imagine a diverging and converging path to success. However, the scale and description in which it represents the design process provides a relatively over-simplified template. And with any discipline or craft, there exists an operational method with nuanced depth and details on how and why the practice of design has been an imagined panacea for change states of people, organizations, and industries.

This paper is necessary to delineate the differences in the varying conceptual scales of design thinking, working, and outputs in relation to strategic planning and operational activities. This paper will do this by describing how the design process is used and visually represented in traditional studio-based practice. It will also show how the lack of current over-simplified design processes' specificity does a disservice to both designers and non-designers who need more detailed operational modes of working or post-project reflection. The ‘magic’ of design is not limited to the discipline itself. In actuality, the blend of disciplines enables the full potential of the design process to reveal itself. And the proposed design matrix allows for viewers to understand the varied conceptual scales of actions and output in relation to a team or individual.

This operational design matrix describes the activities and outputs conducted for product design. This visual method can be utilized in planning stages, current or just-in-time work stages, or post-project evaluations to reflect on design decisions. The ability to recognize particular activities and output that each member of a team can perform in a design process is paramount to understanding operational decisions in concert with meta-level strategic planning. And the ability to utilize an agreed-upon language and a visual common denominator between team members in a collaborative environment set the stage for higher-level understanding and higher potential in synergies and innovative progress.

This paper will present a combination of case studies from prior experiences managing interdisciplinary teams for open-ended, complex product design and user experience problems. The collaborative project examples will primarily include an information technology consulting company, Cognizant corporation as the supporting case study material for this paper.

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