Research framework

As part of this research project we develop a framework that allows us to conceptualise change, and how the moving from now to the future unfolds. Implicit in the application of research frameworks is the selection of epistemological principles. We make this selection explicit. What epistemological guidance we have, is up to us to design. We see it as an integral part of design to also design the learning framework we want to apply.

We take a reflective approach to learning (Schön, 1983), and seek to bridge this understanding of the dual nature of knowledge with theorising from art and design practice, and from practice-based research.

We reviewed existing conceptualisations of collaborative design and identified the aims that they want to achieve when applying design within organisations. These principles can be read from the numerous design process descriptions in circulation. This is a preliminary summary of design practice principles, based on existing design processes:

Production and Use

The User-centred Design (UCD) process expresses the need to synthesise use and production in innovation. A key activity is here the representation of use scenarios and the segmenting of users for an integration of use and production processes.

Technologies and Experiences

User Experience (UX) und Service Design processes, emphasise the integration of tangible and intangible elements of use. They postulate the objective and subjective qualities in using technologies. In this process there is an emphasis on mapping activities and touchpoints across production and use paths.

Thinking and Doing

Lean and Agile design processes seek to synthesise thinking and doing through suggesting fast, iterative cycles. These processes also emphasise that individual expertise needs to be integrated in collaborative processes, for enabling shared understanding and goals.

Material worlds and ideas about possible future worlds

For conceptualising change, or transitions from ‘now’ to possible ‘futures’, we adopt concepts used in design.

In design, knowledge is understood to be both idea and material, or abstract and concrete. This theorising in design can be found in the work on Ambiguity (Gaver, Beaver, & Benford, 2003), Affordances (Gibson, 2015), and Boundary objects (Carlile, 2004; Star & Griesemer, 1989).  Design fiction utilises imaginations about future scenarios in order to negotiate changing realities (Bleeker, 2009).

In order to conceptualise change, or how the world moves from possibilities to realities, it will be useful to bring these concepts of design together with concepts of practice. We are working on developing this framework … See the latest research framework here.


Bleeker, Julian. (2009). Design Fiction: A short essay on design, science, fact and fiction. Near future laboratory, 29.
Carlile, P. R. (2004). Transferring, Translating, and Transforming: An Integrative Framework for Managing Knowledge Across Boundaries. Organization Science, 15(5), 555–568. doi:10.1287/orsc.1040.0094
Gaver, W., Beaver, J., & Benford, S. (2003). Ambiguity as a Resource for Design. Paper presented at the SIGCHI conference on Human factors in computing systems.
Gibson, J. J. (2015). The Ecological Approach to Visual Perception: Classic Edition. New York: Psychology Press.
Schön, Donald A. (1983). The reflective practitioner how professionals think in action. New York: Basic Books.
Star, S., & Griesemer, J. (1989). Institutional Ecology, ‘Translations’ and Boundary Objects: Amateurs and Professionals in Berkeley’s Museum of Vertrebrate Zoology, 1907-39. Social Studies of Science, 19, 387–420.