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Beyond the Product – Enabling design services in small and medium sized enterprises

Eneberg, Magnus LU (2015)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Många industridesignkonsultföretag har som ambition att anta en strategisk roll i sina kundföretag. Design ses i detta sammanhang som ett viktigt konkurrensmedel med en kreativ process som stödjer en innovationsdriven verksamhet. Samtidigt saknas ofta kunskap, framförallt i små och medelstora företag - SMF, om hur designmetoder och processer kan bidra utöver skapandet av estetiskt tilltalande produkter. Denna avhandling inriktar sig på en förståelse av design som en social aktivitet och ett specifikt sätt att skapa kunskap.

Det övergripande syftet med avhandlingen är att öka förståelsen för hur designtjänster kan bidra till att möjliggöra och underlätta organisatoriskt lärande och... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Många industridesignkonsultföretag har som ambition att anta en strategisk roll i sina kundföretag. Design ses i detta sammanhang som ett viktigt konkurrensmedel med en kreativ process som stödjer en innovationsdriven verksamhet. Samtidigt saknas ofta kunskap, framförallt i små och medelstora företag - SMF, om hur designmetoder och processer kan bidra utöver skapandet av estetiskt tilltalande produkter. Denna avhandling inriktar sig på en förståelse av design som en social aktivitet och ett specifikt sätt att skapa kunskap.

Det övergripande syftet med avhandlingen är att öka förståelsen för hur designtjänster kan bidra till att möjliggöra och underlätta organisatoriskt lärande och förändringsprocesser för att på så sätt stärka innovationsförmågan i SMF. Studier visar att de företag som har en historia av att arbeta strategiskt med design är mer innovativa, exporterar mer och tvingas inte konkurrera lika mycket med pris. Baserat på detta bör SMF kunna dra fördel av att samarbeta med designers vilket även gagnar samhället i stort då företagandet inom Europeiska Unionen idag till 99 procent består av SMF.

Forskningsprocessen har bestått av litteraturstudier inom design, organisatoriskt lärande och förändringsarbete och empiriska undersökningar i form av observationer, intervjuer och deltagande i workshops. Initialt låg fokus på designkonsulten, dess förståelse för den egna affärssituationen och bidrag i kundföretagen. Studien visade att industridesignkonsultföretag genomgår en förändring vad gäller organisation, ledning och de kompetenser de anställer. Detta är bland annat en konsekvens av ett breddat designerbjudande. Vi observerade en självtillit bland designer avseende deras förmåga att genom sitt explorativa förhållningssätt bidra till strategiskt utveckling, innovation och annat förändringsarbete i kundorganisationen

Genom att studera konkreta aktiviteter mellan SMF och designers flyttades fokus till relationsskapande och dynamiken i samarbetet mellan de båda parterna. Bland annat visade studierna på behovet av att introducera designmetoder och processer tidigt i den gemensamma processen. Detta skapar en förståelse för designprocessen och dess metoder och hur dessa skiljer sig från hur kundorganisationen vanligtvis arbetar med förändringsprocesser. En tidig samverkan var även viktig för att designer skulle kunna förhandla till sig mer utrymme för kreativt utforskande. I de fall beslutsfattare var aktivt involverade i designprocessen upplevdes slutresultatet i ökad utsträckning som positivt. Genom att involvera beslutsfattare kunde uppdragsbeskrivningen bli ett levande dokument och målsättningen förändras under aktivitetens gång allteftersom nya problem och möjligheter dök upp.

Deltagare i en aktivitet bär med sig en unik historia, kultur och identitet som bland annat utgår från den disciplin eller organisationer de tillhör. Detta leder till att olika perspektiv och kommunikationsredskap, som exempelvis begrepp och prototyper, introduceras i den gemensamma aktiviteten. Att synliggöra dessa men även vilka önskningar och behov som motiverar aktiveten, hur man tolkar regler och fördelar arbete och ansvar, är av vikt för hur samarbetet i aktiviteten fortlöper. I avhandlingen beskrivs och rekommenderas såväl forskare som designpraktiker att använda en aktivitetsteoretisk modell för att öka förståelse för och understödja samarbetet mellan designers och deltagare från SMF.

Visualiseringsmetoder underlättade integrationen av handlande och reflektion, samarbete och ett utforskande förhållningssätt. I flera fall ledde designaktiviteten till ett känslomässigt engagemang vilket i sin tur ledde till nya erfarenheter och lärande. Resultaten kan karakteriseras som affärsutveckling och organisatorisk utveckling. Avhandlingen lyfter fram behovet av långsiktiga relationer och att designern deltar i implementering av resultat för att den nya kunskapen skall få fäste i kundorganisationen.

Avsikten med denna avhandling är att den skall bidra till en pågående diskussion inom designforskningen kring hur designaktiviteter kan bidra till att utveckla organisatoriskt lärande och förändringsprocesser. Min förhoppning är även att den skall bidra till designerns praktiska arbete. (Less)
Abstract
While the design industry is moving into new domains, it seems that potential customers do not always understand how the designer can contribute beyond the aesthetically appealing product. The overall purpose of this thesis is to expand our understanding of design as an enabling service in the context of small and medium sized enterprises. Enabling design services have the potential to result in organizational learning and change. The co-creation of new knowledge and competencies can in turn enable the customer organization to become more innovative and able to deal with an ambiguous environment. The first part of the research consisted of interviews and workshops with the major industrial design consultancies in Sweden and Finland and... (More)
While the design industry is moving into new domains, it seems that potential customers do not always understand how the designer can contribute beyond the aesthetically appealing product. The overall purpose of this thesis is to expand our understanding of design as an enabling service in the context of small and medium sized enterprises. Enabling design services have the potential to result in organizational learning and change. The co-creation of new knowledge and competencies can in turn enable the customer organization to become more innovative and able to deal with an ambiguous environment. The first part of the research consisted of interviews and workshops with the major industrial design consultancies in Sweden and Finland and some smaller American consultancies. A conceptual business model canvas based on service dominant logic is presented in the thesis to increase our understanding of the business of the industrial design consultancy. During the study, we observed several changes in the organization of the industrial design consultancy. We also noticed self-confidence among the industrial design consultancies in respect to their skills in methods to orchestrate collaboration and contribute to strategic development in customer organizations.

An analysis of the initial interviews and workshops together with a literature study helped me to summarize the characteristics of the methods and processes designers are educated in as being integrative, collaborative and explorative. They are integrative in that they incorporate hands with thought, and theory with practice. They are collaborative in that interaction between individuals is a necessity to solve the wicked, ambiguous and open-ended problems the designer usually faces. This has resulted in designers being educated in methods involving a broad range of stakeholders such as users in development processes. Finally, the methods and processes are explorative in that they aim at ingenuity and focus on how things ought to be rather than on the present state.



The second part of the research consisted of interviews and observations and had a focus on shared activities between design students and participants from small and medium sized companies. Design methods and processes were put into the context of organizational learning and change theories that centered on knowing as embodied and encultured. An activity theoretical model was applied to enrich the analysis of the diversity of perspectives that may lead to conflicting interpretation and negotiation in shared activities. The concepts of place and space were used to highlight the dynamics between how structures and human desires and needs motivated participants in the shared activities. Place is characterized by stability and is the strategy of the prevailing and often connected to identity. Space is practiced place and connected to change and human agency. The thesis presents how design services enabled individuals and organizations to be introduced to and to strengthen a given place, such as a discipline or organization. It also provides examples of the opposite, with individuals distancing themselves from a place, such as a discipline. Mediating artifacts and the integration of doing and reflection created experiences that evoked emotional involvement and enactment among the participants. Most activities resulted in creating space for change and learning and the outcome can be characterized as business and organizational development. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
supervisor
opponent
  • Prof Räisänen, Christine, Chalmers tekniska högskola, Göteborg
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Service dominant logic, Small and medium sized enterprises, Activity theory, Organizational change, Organizational learning, Design management
pages
194 pages
defense location
Lecture hall Stora Hörsalen, IKDC, Sölvegatan 26, Lund University, Faculty of Engineering, LTH.
defense date
2015-09-04 10:15
ISBN
978-91-7623-408-2
978-91-7623-407-5
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e53b0d88-4bcd-45d4-bb7a-c4e50b89ffbb (old id 7761770)
date added to LUP
2015-08-14 14:24:08
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:18
@misc{e53b0d88-4bcd-45d4-bb7a-c4e50b89ffbb,
  abstract     = {While the design industry is moving into new domains, it seems that potential customers do not always understand how the designer can contribute beyond the aesthetically appealing product. The overall purpose of this thesis is to expand our understanding of design as an enabling service in the context of small and medium sized enterprises. Enabling design services have the potential to result in organizational learning and change. The co-creation of new knowledge and competencies can in turn enable the customer organization to become more innovative and able to deal with an ambiguous environment. The first part of the research consisted of interviews and workshops with the major industrial design consultancies in Sweden and Finland and some smaller American consultancies. A conceptual business model canvas based on service dominant logic is presented in the thesis to increase our understanding of the business of the industrial design consultancy. During the study, we observed several changes in the organization of the industrial design consultancy. We also noticed self-confidence among the industrial design consultancies in respect to their skills in methods to orchestrate collaboration and contribute to strategic development in customer organizations. <br/><br>
An analysis of the initial interviews and workshops together with a literature study helped me to summarize the characteristics of the methods and processes designers are educated in as being integrative, collaborative and explorative. They are integrative in that they incorporate hands with thought, and theory with practice. They are collaborative in that interaction between individuals is a necessity to solve the wicked, ambiguous and open-ended problems the designer usually faces. This has resulted in designers being educated in methods involving a broad range of stakeholders such as users in development processes. Finally, the methods and processes are explorative in that they aim at ingenuity and focus on how things ought to be rather than on the present state. <br/><br>
<br/><br>
The second part of the research consisted of interviews and observations and had a focus on shared activities between design students and participants from small and medium sized companies. Design methods and processes were put into the context of organizational learning and change theories that centered on knowing as embodied and encultured. An activity theoretical model was applied to enrich the analysis of the diversity of perspectives that may lead to conflicting interpretation and negotiation in shared activities. The concepts of place and space were used to highlight the dynamics between how structures and human desires and needs motivated participants in the shared activities. Place is characterized by stability and is the strategy of the prevailing and often connected to identity. Space is practiced place and connected to change and human agency. The thesis presents how design services enabled individuals and organizations to be introduced to and to strengthen a given place, such as a discipline or organization. It also provides examples of the opposite, with individuals distancing themselves from a place, such as a discipline. Mediating artifacts and the integration of doing and reflection created experiences that evoked emotional involvement and enactment among the participants. Most activities resulted in creating space for change and learning and the outcome can be characterized as business and organizational development.},
  author       = {Eneberg, Magnus},
  isbn         = {978-91-7623-408-2},
  keyword      = {Service dominant logic,Small and medium sized enterprises,Activity theory,Organizational change,Organizational learning,Design management},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {194},
  title        = {Beyond the Product – Enabling design services in small and medium sized enterprises},
  year         = {2015},
}