Understanding the dynamics of attitudes within a design and business focused collaboration

John James Gribbin, Robert Young, Mersha Aftab

Abstract


This paper aims to advance understanding about design’s unique contributions within collaborations between the disciplines of design and business. Collaboration between design and business functions is increasingly utilised as organisations seek to capitalise on a variety of knowledge and perspectives during the innovation process. Despite this increasing prevalence, the discipline of design can often be misunderstood by other disciplines within this particular interdisciplinary scenario due to the implicit knowledge that is central to the nature of design, which is often intangible and tacit in nature, yet provides designers with the capability to propose novel solutions to complex problem situations. This paper takes a deeper look at design attitude, which has previously been suggested to be one of the differentiators between design and other disciplines. The paper reflects on the results of a case study focusing on a collaboration between a multinational consumer goods company and a team of postgraduate students working out of a UK University. Data was obtained through observation, a reflective workshop and repertory grid based interviews. The originality of the paper lies in the way in which it categorises attitudes of different disciplines, in order to capture aspects of the design attitude that appear to be both unique and difficult for business focused people to adopt.

Keywords: design attitude, multidisciplinary innovation, design knowledge.


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