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Design Discourse on Business and Industry

Re:Research, Volume 6

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Just as the term design has been going through change, growth and expansion of meaning, and interpretation in practice and education – the same can be said for design research. The traditional boundaries of design are dissolving and connections are being established with other fields at an exponential rate. Based on the proceedings from the IASDR 2017 Conference, Re:Research is an edited collection that showcases a curated selection of 83 papers – just over half of the works presented at the conference. With topics ranging from the introduction of design in the primary education sector to designing information for Artificial Intelligence systems, this book collection demonstrates the diverse perspectives of design and design research. Divided into seven thematic volumes, this collection maps out where the field of design research is now.


Interaction Between Client and Design Consultant: The Stance of Client to Design Consultant and Its Influence on Design Process

  • Haebin Lee, Muhammad Tufail, Myungjin Kim, KwanMyung Kim


Design is essential in product development but several small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) relatively capable of manufacturing are suffered from lack of in-house design ability. For new product design, these SMEs typically employ external designers. In this client–designer interaction, designers propose design solution alternatives to their clients, which clients may accept or reject. In some cases, clients provide designers further design requirements. A study on how interactions are performed and what effects these interactions have on the results of product development is essential to determine what is needed to achieve successful collaborative relationships. Thus, this study analyzed three design development cases that were previously performed to understand how interactions work between clients and designers and its effect on the outcomes. In all cases, the design team developed designs for the clients based on their technological requirements. This study focused on the effect of client stance on the process and deliverables. Clients usually take various actions that accept or reject design solutions or give additional demands. This is because clients take initiative in decision making. Clients’ stance was divided into receptive and expressive stances. As a result, a receptive stance ensured the design capabilities of design consultants, whereas expressive stance confined design capabilities to some extent but a new design direction may be proposed based on a client’s knowledge, information and judgment.


Speed Dating with Design Thinking: An Empirical Study of Managers Solving Business Problems with Design

  • Seda McKilligan, Tejas Dhadphale, David Ringholz


The concept of design thinking has received increasing attention during recent years, particularly from managers around the world. However, despite being the subject of a vast number of articles and books stating its importance, the effectiveness of this approach is unclear, as the claims about the concept are not grounded on empirical studies or evaluations. In this study, we investigated the perceptions of six design thinking methods of 21 managers in the agriculture industry as they explored employee and business-related problems and solutions using these tools in a 6-hour workshop. The results from pre and post-survey responses suggest that the managers agreed on the value design thinking could bring to their own domains and were able to articulate on how they can use them in solving problems. We conclude by proposing directions for research to further explore adaptation of design thinking for the management practice context.


Product Design Briefs as Knowledge-Based Artifacts of Cross-Functional Collaboration in New Product Development

  • Ian Parkman


Contemporary research in business strategy, new product development and design management has suggested that cross-functional collaboration within team-based environments is critical to successful product development processes. However, scholars have also demonstrated that the mere presence of inter-functional structures does not necessarily lead to better outcomes. Indeed, the very differences which cause cross-disciplinary teams to result in improved design processes may also lead to friction as team members’ backgrounds, orientations and training often cause them to have different perspectives on what information is important to the product design process and to solve development-related problems. Improved understanding how to integrate information from differing functional areas is a clear emphasis of research, yet very few empirical studies have precisely defined the units of knowledge flowing through NPD projects, differences in importance of information elements by functional area or the structures which may facilitate the sharing of information within NPD. This study presents an investigation of product design briefs as knowledge-based artifacts of cross-functional collaboration within NPD. Drawing on a proprietary sample of 68 briefs analyzed through an expert rating procedure alongside survey questionnaire of 153 product development managers our results define 51 information elements commonly shared between functional areas during an NPD project. We organize these information elements as eight factors, categorize the “importance” of each element to NPD success and describe differences in evaluation from across three primary functional domains of NPD: (a) Design, (b) Marketing and (c) Engineering/ R&D/ Development.


Entrepreneurial Universities Meet Their Private Partners: Toward a Better Embedding of the Outcomes of Cross-Sector Collaborations

  • Baldini Luca, Calabretta Giulia, De Lille Christine


In the past decades, universities’ involvement in socio-economic development, which goes along with their teaching and researching activities, has defined a new role for them in society’s ecosystem. This new role is often referred with the term of “entrepreneurial” university, whose objectives are positive societal, economic and environmental impacts. In order to fulfill such objectives, entrepreneurial universities might engage in cross-sector collaborations with external organizations. Despite the great contributions that cross-sector collaboration can give to the partners involved, the outcome is mostly unfocused and rarely embedded. This paper explores the outcome embedding in the cross-sector collaboration between entrepreneurial universities and the private sector. To this end, we provide the case of the collaboration between a Dutch airline company and four Dutch entrepreneurial research and teaching institutions. We aim to uncover hindering and enabling factors to the outcome embedding in order to design an interaction platform, design it together. This platform will be a tool to encourage the outcome embedding, moving from being inspired by to the actual implementation of the cross-sector collaboration. In order to fulfill this goal, this study employs a research through design methodology. This approach is a generative process, where cyclic loops of iterations and evaluations with stakeholders tend to the research goal. The solution is a digital platform, co-created with all stakeholders. This study can inspire practitioners and future research on the problem of unsuccessful cross-sector collaborations, between entrepreneurial universities and external organizations, with more emphasis on the value of embedding and translating the outcomes.


Expert Opinion on the Barriers to Communicating Excellent Research in Commercially Driven Design Projects

  • Dana Al Batlouni, Katie Beverley, Andrew Walters


Effective university–industry collaboration has become a major focus for governments in recent years. Universities are increasingly expected to play a greater role in the innovation system and evidence their contribution to economic development. At the same time, the growth in research quality assessment exercises makes it imperative that the excellence of research conducted in commercially driven activities can be appropriately evaluated. This paper explores the challenge of reconciling commercially focused activity and research quality assessment in design. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 experts including representatives from the design discipline, other applied academic disciplines, research quality assessment leaders and commercial designers. The interviews identified a number of barriers to demonstrating research excellence in commercially driven projects. These were classified as barriers resulting from: the nature of industry/academic relationships; the nature of the project; and the nature of the research quality assessment. It is concluded that there is a need to build a simple, easily usable framework for assessing the research potential of commercially driven design projects from the outset to ensure that the appropriate processes are put in place to communicate research conducted within them.


Exploring Design-Specific Factors for Building Longer Term Industry Relationships

  • Medeirasari Putri, Mersha Aftab, Mark Bailey, Nicholas Spencer


When design works with industry it tries to sell two things, first, selling design as an agent of transformation and second, selling design as a skill. Whilst historically design has been successful in the latter, it is the former that is more challenging, making it a necessity for design to work in none design contexts in order to build trust and credibility. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the ways in which design interacts with industry, and how these interactions enable design to establish longer term relationships. This investigation set out to answer the question, what design-specific characteristics are applied to establish successful longer term relationships between design and industry? The paper aims to illustrate the intrinsic factors that enable design to get access, and designers to get authority to play a significant role in organizations. Five well-established relationships between design and industry have been used to analyze to find correlations. The investigation identifies three stages of collaboration between design and industry, namely, involvement, collaboration and partnerships, contrary to Cahill’s theoretical model, which claimed four stages to long-lasting partnerships. Also, the case studies confirm three stages of trust and credibility as factors that help in strengthening a relationship between design and industry. Finally, several intrinsic factors that are unique to design have been identified, which are seen to have helped design in building high levels of trust and credibility.


Collaborating Design Risk

  • Laura Ferrarello, Ashley Hall, Mike Kann, Chang Hee Lee


The “Safety Grand Challenge” is a collaborative research project between the Royal College of Art (RCA) School of Design, and the Lloyd’s Register Foundation (LRF). The maritime industry is dominated by “grandfathering” leading to a slow-pace of adopting innovations that can reduce risk and save lives at sea. We describe how impact was achieved through collaboration and design innovations that bridged the risk gap between technologies and human behaviors. Starting from the project brief we designed a collaborative platform that supported a constructive dialog between academia and partner organizations that aimed to foster innovative design approaches to risk and safety. The project generated an engaged community with diverse expertise that influenced the outcomes which included seven prototypes designed by a group of 30 students from across the RCA. Throughout the course of the project the network extended to other partners beyond the initial ones that included the RCA, LRF and Royal National Lifeboat Institution. The “Safety Grand Challenge” demonstrates how research can be an explorative platform that offers opportunities to analyze and design solutions to real-life safety problems in mature industries through the prototypes that reflect the sophistication of the project’s collaborations. Our conclusions support how design research helped identify the value of design for safety in tackling complex issues that intertwine human, environmental and commercial views and can shape new forms of collaborative research between academia and industrial partners.


Understanding Passengers’ Experiences of Train Journeys to Inform the Design of Technological Innovations

  • Luis Oliveira, Callum Bradley, Stewart Birrell, Rebecca Cain, Andy Davies, Neil Tinworth


In this paper, we present results from a collaborative research between academic institutions and industry partners in the UK, which aimed to understand the experience of rail passengers and to identify how the design of technology can improve this experience. Travelling by train can often provide passengers with negative experiences. New technologies give the opportunity to design new interactions that support the creation of positive experiences, but the design should be based on solid understanding of user and their needs. We conducted in-depth, face-to-face semi-structured interviews and used additional questionnaires given to passengers on board of trains to collect the data presented on this paper. A customer journey map was produced to illustrate the passengers’ experiences at diverse touchpoints with the rail system. The positive and negative aspects of each touchpoint are plotted over the course of a “typical” journey, followed by the explanations for these ratings. Results indicate how the design of technological innovations can enhance the passenger experience, especially at the problematic touchpoints, e.g. when collecting tickets, navigating to the platform, boarding the train and finding a seat. We finalize this paper pointing toward requirements for future technological innovations to improve the passenger experience.


Taxonomy of Interactions and the Design of the Airport Passenger Screening Process

  • Levi Swann, Vesna Popovic, William Mason, Benjamin MacMahon


This paper presents a case study analyzing the interactions of nine security officers during the mandatory passenger screening process at an Australian international Airport. Eye-tracking glasses were used to observe the visual, physical and verbal interactions of security officers while they performed the x-ray task. Stationary video recording devices were used to record physical and verbal interactions performed by security officers during the load, search and metal detector tasks. Six taxonomic groups were developed that define the different types of interactions performed by security officers during each task. Each taxonomic group is comprised of several discrete interactions specific to each of the tasks observed. Through analyzing the composition of interactions and the relationships between interactions in different tasks, this paper highlights the prominence of interactions that security officers perform with passengers and their belongings. These interactions play an important role in the first and last stages of the passenger screening process, as well as influence the functioning of the overall passenger screening process. Due to this, they have substantial effect on passenger experience, throughput efficiency and security efficacy. In response to these findings, we draw from emerging security technologies and persuasive design principles to present potential design solutions for optimizing the passenger screening process. These are presented in the context of a preliminary framework with which to inform the design of current and future passenger screening processes.


Raising Crime Awareness through Design Thinking within a ‘High Street Retailer’ in the United Kingdom

  • Meg Parivar, David Hands


Since the 1800s, England became an industrialized country and experienced extensive urban growth, so sales associates chose this location to establish large stores. Toward the end of the nineteenth century, the aim was to create the stores to entice customers through space, impressive architecture, interior design and the elegant display of merchandise. At the same time, the display techniques were growing to promote sales. Therefore, more retail equipment manufactured and supplied for displaying products in the stores. This significant variation led the retail industry as the goods could be touched by the customers and they were not accessible only through retail assistant anymore. Since then due to this new differentiation, retailers have been experiencing a significant change in their customer’s behavior. Now the retailers are trying to give a brilliant shopping experience to their customers with more reason to increase the sale. However, there are some restrictions to this strategy that afford excellent opportunities for shoplifters and opportunist criminals. Store design can be a fantastic and efficient tool to increase sales. Also, it could significantly increase the chance of retail crime. This paper examines how to minimize criminal activity in retail environments to reduce loss prevention and retail shrinkage by raising awareness through design thinking. Therefore, interviews, observation and exploration were done based on the experience of employees and customers in “The High Street Retailer.” The research project outcome included as over, a creative retail crime learning package and a digital platform to raise awareness and improve communication.


A Study on the Entrepreneurial Path of Design-Led Startups in Taiwan

  • Fang-Wu Tung


The phenomenon of design entrepreneurship has received attention in the field of design. The trend of design entrepreneurship emerges in Taiwan and becoming a new career option for designers. Entrepreneurial activities can promote economic growth through innovation and knowledge spillovers. Studies on designer entrepreneurship are warranted because it proposes the possibility of entrepreneurial innovation, contributing to industrial and economic development. A multiple case study was employed, and seven design-led startups were selected as case study subjects to explore and conclude how these firms integrate their own profession and acquire resources to construct the value chain so as to keep the company operational and profitable. According to the results, the value chain of design-led startups identified. The findings are further discussed to provide a better understanding of the entrepreneurial path of design-led startups in Taiwan.


EV 3.0: A Design-Driven Integrated Innovation on Rapid Charging Model BEV Mobility

  • Miaosen Gong, Qiao Liang, Juanfang Xu, Xiang Zhou


This submission reports a design-driven integrated innovation on EV mobility, EV 3.0, as a collaboration between design research institution and a small BEV company in China. The on-going project provides a novel vision and design strategies of Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) and mobility and has achieved a key technological performance on rapid charging of BEV. The current situation of BEV Industry and their recharging patterns show a big gap of new energy mobility. Key issues of BEV and mobility are defined by analysis of users’ need of mass market and a case study of a leading BEV. Usability of charging is identified as a bottleneck of BEV industry. Hence a new vision and scenario of rapid charging are defined, leading to respective design strategies and technological routines. With a long-term investigation and iterative prototyping, an established prototype is developed and officially tested in the National Center of Supervision and Inspection on New Energy Motor Vehicle Products Quality in Shanghai. The test result indicates that the prototype has 431-km range in speed of 80km/h with only 15 minutes’ recharging, which provides a valid routine to break bottleneck of BEV industry.


Design for Better Comprehension: Design Opportunities for Facilitating Consumers’ Comprehension of Really New Products (RNPs)

  • Peiyao Cheng, Cees de Bont, Ruth Mugge


Developing successful really new products (RNPs) can bring competitive advantages for companies. However, the success rate of RNPs are relatively low because consumers often feel resistant to adopt them. One reason for consumers’ resistance is their lack of comprehension of RNPs. To facilitate consumers’ comprehension, this paper conceptually discusses the opportunities related to designing the appearances of RNPs. More specifically, to facilitate consumers’ internal and external learning, this paper explores four underlying mechanisms: (1) product appearance as a visual cue to trigger category-based knowledge transfer, (2) to trigger analogy-based knowledge transfer, (3) product appearance as an information carrier to communicate innovative functionality directly, and (4) product appearance as a way to trigger congruity with innovative functionality of RNPs. The rationales for each underlying mechanism are conceptually discussed, supported with relevant empirical evidence and examples found in the markets.

Related Topics: Cultural Studies

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