Design interventions: Revealing, initiating, and sustaining communities of design practice within organisations

Green, Mark (2017) Design interventions: Revealing, initiating, and sustaining communities of design practice within organisations. Doctoral thesis, Northumbria University.

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This research explores and investigates the impact of new design practices within an organisational setting. The research follows a series of design interventions initiated within two for-profit organisations by adopting a participant observation approach and a case study structure. The interventions took the form of design-led workshops, the creation of artefacts, and conversations. Qualitative data as to the impact and the perception of the interventions was gathered over a two-year period, focusing upon examples of existing, introduced and emergent design practices. The data was analysed by applying a framework of ‘communities of design practice’, developed from Wenger’s (1998) theory of communities of practice, and focusing on the themes of engagement, design attitude and alignment to organisational aims. This research establishes that communities of design practice is a valid framework for inquiry into and analysis of organisational design culture. Use of the framework enables understanding of how and why new design practices are impactful and can lead to organisational change. This research also establishes that communities of design practice have a number of key characteristics: creating artefacts is key to engagement; sensemaking, as a design practice, can be engaged in by non-designers; design attitude may extend beyond expert designers; and, aligning design practices to organisational aims may be opportunistic rather than strategic. Further, this research establishes that communities of design practice have additional infrastructure needs: a design vocabulary; design champions; and design space. Finally, this research considers the provocative and critical role played by external designers introducing new design practices through design interventions. This research has multiple contributions to knowledge including: the development of a framework for understanding organisational design culture; an in-depth study of the development of new design practices in organisations other than by expert designers; and a model of practice that may help other researchers and practitioners engaging in design interventions within organisations.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: W200 Design studies
Department: Faculties > Arts, Design and Social Sciences > Design
University Services > Graduate School > Doctor of Philosophy
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Oct 2018 11:36
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2019 08:07

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