Meaning in the Making: Introducing a hermeneutic perspective on the contribution of design practice to innovation
In recent years interest has grown in how design can contribute to innovation in business and society, such as through the management concept of design thinking. However, up-close studies on design’s contribution to innovation are still scarce. This may be one reason why rhetoric arguing the benefit of design in innovation contexts is often related to pervasive innovation concepts, such as idea generation and problem-solving, rather than to concepts that capture tacit and embodied dimensions of design as an aesthetic practice. The purpose of this study is to develop an understanding of the contribution of design practice to innovation. This has been achieved through an experimental research-approach in which five designers, through different interventions, involved multi-disciplinary groups of non-designers in experiencing design practice “hands-on” in five "non-designerly" companies. The aim of the interventions was to strengthen the innovativeness of the organizations. The interventions have been studied through ethnographically inspired methods and an interpretative and reflexive methodological approach. In the interventions established product understandings in the companies were challenged, initially leading to friction. However, the immersion in design hands-on meant that established meaning-spaces were gradually expanded through processes of entwined conversation and hands-on making. In these processes new product understandings were developed through aesthetic deliberation and material practice, which in three cases lead to innovative concepts that could not have been developed within the meaning-space in the organization before the interventions. This study thus sheds light on how the emergence of innovative concepts can be understood as processes of meaning-making, and how design practice may provide processes for such innovation work in multi-disciplinary contexts. It also suggests that when design practice is abstracted away, as is common in design thinking rhetoric, relevant dimensions of design’s contribution to innovation may be lost. The main theoretical contribution is to show the relevance of hermeneutics as an explicit concept for understanding the contribution of design practice to innovation. This can be seen as establishing a missing link between design theory, design management studies and innovation management theory. Beyond articulating the contribution of design practice to innovation, this thesis also supports the relevance of understanding meaning-making as central to innovation.
Doctor of Philosophy
Göteborgs universitet. Konstnärliga fakulteten
University of Gothenburg. Faculty of Fine, Applied and Performing Arts
HDK - School of Design and Crafts ; HDK - Högskolan för design och konsthantverk
Fredagen den 20 september 2013 kl. 13.00 i aulan, HDK - Högskolan för design och konsthantverk, Kristinelundsgatan 6-8, Göteborg
Date of defence
MetadataShow full item record
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
BUILDING RELATIONS WITH NATURE BY DESIGN METHODS Christoph, Matt (2022-06-03)Culture, art, and design can help us as a society and for each earthling to reflect on the ambivalent relationship between nature and humans in the Anthropocene by raising the critical question of how we can build more ...
Tillämpning av evidensbaserad design vid gestaltning av två trädgårdsrum på GreveGarden Sjöstrand, Jenny (2020-10-06)Mental illness is rising dramatically in Sweden and accounts for as much as 46 % of all ongoing sick leave. Studies show that between 2011 and 2017, the increase due to psychiatric afflictions was 129 %, with the vast ...
Personas in Real Life OTTOSSON, JOSEF; BRANDIN, TIM (2013-09-18)Personas is a method for modeling users used for the interaction design in a software project. It has gained a lot of popularity within the industry. However, the role personas should play is not always abvious even to ...