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Design Methods in Organizational Development
 

Design Methods in Organizational Development

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  • \n
  • Recently, there has been a surge of interest in broadening the scope of design activities to apply to new territories. One of these expansions considers the application of design methodologies in assisting management of organizations.\n\nMuch of the academic discourse of design in management refers to Herbert Simon who saw already during 1960s that managing had been reduced to simply making choices based on alternatives prepared by others in the organization. This created a separation of knowledge creation, design of possible alternatives and that of choice making, which he saw as having serious concequences for organizations. The change of approach from natural sciences, which look backwards into what is towards applied sciences with an approach which looks into “what might be” was seen as crucial to remedying the situation.\n\nMore recently, van Aken and Romme look to\n\nWith the increased attention paid to design methods, this approach has gained much momentum and research is being conducted within various disciplines. In design research related studies include the co-design of business models by Jacob Buur in the Spire center, using design games to co-design work space layouts by Tomas Binder and Eva Brandt and studies of work practices in the elderly workforce by Tuuli Mattelmäki, Kirsikka Vaajakallio and Salu Ylirisku.\n\nIn our case we wanted to create an experimental project to test methods used in design in the context of organizational development.\n
  • Specifically, we wanted to focus on three areas of activity that are relevant for designers.\n
  • This makes design a human-centered activity.\n
  • \n
  • Embodiment is a term that has its roots in the phenomenological tradition of philosophy.\n\nEmbodiment refers to the idea how we are in relation to the world, how we exist, act in, make sense and effect the world. For design the theories of embodiment have significance in the sense that we as designers work with materials and create works that effect the world. When designing we feel the surfaces, textures, weight, density, temperature of the materials and work with scale in relation to our body.\n\nIn the context of this paper we want to highlight the fact that the ideas of embodiment does not concern only the physical world but the world of the social as well. Here we specifically refer to the ideas of Dourish, Wenger and Ehn. \n\nHere Dourish includes conversations, actions, interactions and participation to the idea of embodiment.\n\nWenger views embodiment through concepts of participation and reification. He means that through socially engaging in shared meaning making activities we participate and simulataneously create reifications. The activities are built around creation of reifications. The reifications can be objects such as documents, e-mails, letters, rules, forms, books, web pages etc. But also abstract objects such as practices, concepts, agreements, words, formulas and gestures. Temporally as time goes by the reifications become more and more dense and elaborate.\n\nEhn writes about representations and states that in the context of co-design they function in a dual role: as material representatives of evolving objects but also as socio-material public things supporting communication and participation. \n
  • 1. In our case we were invited to study the fuzzy front-end of product development of a globally operating company. First, what is the fuzzy front-end? By this term we refer to the first stage of new innovations in which new ideas emerge, are discussed and evaluated by peers and eventually formalized into propositions and patent applications.\n\nThe company has various R&D units all over the world. These units are either founded by the company or acquired by other means. Before, communication of and around ideas was restricted to closed circles of employees or teams. What the company wanted to do is to create a better communication infrastructure for sharing ideas in the early stage for them to gather more feedback and the be known wider in the organization.\n\nThe way this was done was through a digital networked system through which employees could enter ideas, comment on them and, depending on their role, screen ideas for further development.\n\nThey asked us to join their efforts in following up the development and offer insight into how the system could be made to work efficiently. \n
  • 1. In our case we were invited to study the fuzzy front-end of product development of a globally operating company. First, what is the fuzzy front-end? By this term we refer to the first stage of new innovations in which new ideas emerge, are discussed and evaluated by peers and eventually formalized into propositions and patent applications.\n\nThe company has various R&D units all over the world. These units are either founded by the company or acquired by other means. Before, communication of and around ideas was restricted to closed circles of employees or teams. What the company wanted to do is to create a better communication infrastructure for sharing ideas in the early stage for them to gather more feedback and the be known wider in the organization.\n\nThe way this was done was through a digital networked system through which employees could enter ideas, comment on them and, depending on their role, screen ideas for further development.\n\nThey asked us to join their efforts in following up the development and offer insight into how the system could be made to work efficiently. \n
  • Early on, already with some 800 pilot users the organization had noticed that the system did not function excatly in the way they intended it. Even though they had a rigid process for idea advancement, they thought that many of the ideas were not good enough, i.e. there were many entries that signalled problems rather than solutions, and also that most ideas were left dormant with few or any comments. They wanted us to help them in making the system work more efficiently.\n\nAfter conducting initial interviews, we found out that the problem is not necessarily within the working of the system, but in the way innovation was carried out in the organization itself. The spread-out units had differing organizational cultures, the innovation mindset was very technically oriented and excluded more design-oriented ideas, ideas were seen as valuable property instead something to be shared etc. All of these related on issues that a process-approach was not able to solve.\n\nWe adopted a rebrief in which we wanted to concentrate on helping the organization tools and concepts for changing the way innovation was conducted in the organization itself.\n
  • In order to go about with our action-research we planned a series of co-design workshops for developing the innovation process and getting knowledge about how the innovation is carried out in the organization. We wanted to create a structure for developing the innovation process through an embodied practice that included the concretization of participants’ experiences into concrete material artifacts and negotiation of their meanings. Methodologically, they were based on the understanding of people as embodied actors, in which cognitive processes are not separated from physical doing. \n\nWe wanted to focus on human-related aspects of the innovation process such as motivations, relationships and practices, not abstract business models, management processes and strategies. \n\nThe workshops spanned over a period three months and the themes were People, Process and Tools. The participants were 14–18 employees from the organization R&D department and 2 designers acted as facilitators. We worked with artifacts which I am going to show you next. Each event lasted for five hours. For us designers it took a significant amount of planning in between. The employees were working on exercises that we called social prototypes in between the workshops.\n\n------------\n\nWorkshop participants were partly chosen by the researchers from the interviewed participants and partly by the company to reflect different work tasks, educational backgrounds, levels of management and activity in the tool. \n\nAlso people that were conservative, hesitant and even resilient to change \n\nThe amount of participants in each workshop was between 14–18. Two facilitators with a background in design conducted the events. There were also two to four assistants taking care of documenting, guiding in practical issues and distributing workshop materials. \n\nOrganized in a cross-disciplinary unit at the local university \n\nWorkshops\nConducted in fall 2010, over a 3-month period\n14–18 employees, 2 facilitators, 2–4 assistants\nSpace designed for hosting co-creation events\n\n\nspaces that are designed to provide optimal surroundings for hosting co-creation events \n\nSoundproofed walls\nfurniture and wallcovers are colourful and mobile\na collection of prototyping materials and tools such as cardboard, paper of various sizes, scissors and soft clay \n- high-quality audiovisual presentation set-up\n\nLasted for five hours including lunch\n\nWorked mainly with our hands\n\nIn each workshop the designers presented some theoretical concepts related to the day’s topic \n
  • The people workshop was dedicated to working with people related issues such as organizational culture, relationships between people and social interaction.\n\nWe utilized personas and scenarios as methods. On the left you see a picture that represents the persona of a champion (an innovator role in the company system). This is what the participants created. On the right you see a picture of a Future Champion poster that was created by us designers on the basis of the work done by the participants.\n\nSo our role as designers was not to be passive observers but more like active agents in the action research process. \n
  • In the Process workshop we worked through a metaphorical approach to rethinking the innovation process and related practices.\n\nWe questioned their perception of innovation process as an assembly line that smoothly produces new innovations like a machine. We wanted to make them reflect on their views and to come up with new metaphors about their activities.\n\nOn the left you see the posters created by the participants and on the right the diagram that we constructed based on their initial work. These posters were fed back to the participants in the next workshop.\n
  • The working in the Tools workshop was taken into a pragmatic level in a different sense than in the People and Process workshops. Working with ideas of technologial solutions is more concrete than the abstractions of social interaction, organizational culture, metaphors of innovation or process and practices of innovation.\n\nWe also analyzed together with the participants existing solutions for creating ideas for new products: Yammer, Open IDEO and Give a minute to name a few. This was done inorder to get the participants into thinking about the tool that they have from a novel perspective. It seemed to us that they were in many ways attached to the Innotool even though it was not an ideal solution to their purposes.\n\nWe worked with paper prototyping and acted out scenarios and got three development ideas of which two are already in the process of being realized at least in some level.\n
  • We think that the methods that we used: personas, secnarios, metaphorical thinking, paper prototyping and acted out scenarios enabled the participants to concretize values, feelings and motivations. This in our view happened in contrast to traditional management methods. We had eager discussion in the workshops and at times eaven heated discussions. In the conversations the participants were able to stay at a very concrete level concerning their own work. There was very little management talk and strategy discussion.\n\nHowever, the designerly way of working with materials is not easy for a person who is not trained in design. This is sometimes difficult for us designers to realize since we are so grown used to working with them. Drawing was experienced difficult by some. Maybe providing different kind of materials would have made it easier to participate.\n\nThe amount of artifacts that the participants created is abundant.\n\nIn feedback interviews participants thought that in general it was easy to participate and bring one’s thoughts into a shared discussion.\n\nThe resuts of prototyping were somewhat limited. This was due to the fact that there is a heavy decision making process in the organization. The ideas of improving the innovation practices and tools need to be taken to the steering group to discuss.\n
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Design Methods in Organizational Development Design Methods in Organizational Development Presentation Transcript

  • Co-Designing (with) Organizations -Human-centeredness, Participation andEmbodiment in OrganizationalDevelopmentJuha KronqvistAalto UniversitySchool of Art and Design; CICERO LearningAnna SalmiAalto UniversitySchool of Art and DesignSchool of ScienceDesigning Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, June 24-26 2011 1
  • Management as Design?• HerbertSimon saw the need for managers to think about “not how things are, but how they might be” (Simon 1969)• From technical rationality towards creative reflection-in- action (van Aken and Romme 2011)• Related studies in design: • Business models (Buur 2008) • Work environments (Binder & Brandt 2008) • Work practices (Mattelmäki, Vaajakallio & Ylirisku 2007)• Exploratory research case in organizational development 2 Photo credit: IBM Archives
  • Theoretical inspiration DESIGN AS DESIGN AS HUMAN- PARTICIPATION EMBODIED CENTERED IN DESIGN ACTIVITY ACTIVITY Krippendorff 2006; Ehn 1998; Ehn & Kyng 1991 Dourish 2004; Wenger, 1998 Dourish 2004; Löwgren & Stolterman 2005 3
  • Design as Human-centered Activity• Design is concerned with the effects of their outputs to their eventual users and inspiration is derived from people’s lives• Aesthetic experiences are created through interaction over time (Petersen et al 2004)• Discovering and designing meanings (Krippendorff 2006; Dourish 2004)• Ethical issues in design (Löwgren & Stolterman 2005) 4
  • Participation in Design• People are the experts in their own lives, but often lack the skills to design for it• Much of experience is embedded in tacit knowledge and practices and therefore difficult to express in interviews• Participatory design creates a stage of tools, methods and other means for creating a dialogue between designers and people (Ehn 2008; Ehn & Kyng 1991) 5
  • Embodiment• Roots in phenomenology• Concerned with the ways in which we exist, act in, make sense and effect the world through the body• Including conversations, engaged actions and participation (Dourish, 2004)• Participation and reification, thingness (Wenger, 1998)• Co-design workshops for collaboratively envisioning the future through interacting with each other and with physical materials, e.g. prototypes, models, sketches, collages, posters, stories• Representations: “material ‘representatives’ of the evolving object, “socio-material public things supporting communication and participation” (Ehn, 2008)
  • Context• Fuzzy front-end of R&D units of a globally operating company 7
  • Context• Fuzzy front-end of R&D units of a globally operating company 7
  • Context• Fuzzy front-end of R&D units of a globally operating company 7
  • BRIEF“Design an innovation process that supportsthe quality of ideas and decreases processtime.” 87
  • BRIEF“Design an innovation process that supportsthe quality of ideas and decreases processtime.”RE-BRIEF“Co-design tools and concepts to support theorganization for changing its innovationpractices.” 87
  • Co-Design workshopsAim to create a structure for developing the innovation processthrough an embodied practice enabling: 1. concretization of participants’ experiences into concrete material artifacts 2. negotiation of their meanings Focus on motivations, relationships and practices, not abstractions and strategies of innovation.
  • People workshop• Focus on organizational culture, relationships between people and social interaction taking place online and face-to- face.• Working with personas and scenarios
  • Process workshop• Metaphorical approach to rethinking innovation process and related practices.• Innovation process: an assembly line, a leaking bucket, a sieve, or like puzzle building, making a snowball together?
  • Tool workshop• Pragmatic collaborative envisioning and prototyping of future tool concepts supporting innovation.• Methods: paper prototyping and acted out scenarios
  • Results• In comparison to traditional management methods, personas and scenarios allowed participants to concretize values, feelings and motivations concerning the activity of innovating.• Designerly way of working with materials and thinking through doing is not easy• Collected 46 artifacts rich in meaning• Drawing felt difficult for some• Design methods used were received with enthusiasm and produced good results• Participation and expressing one’s thoughts was experienced as easy
  • Discussion• An alternative for organizations to gain a deeper understanding of their processes and generate tools and concepts for prompting change.• A way to explore work practices and emotional aspects.• Hands-on work inspires new ideas and aims for consensus.• Challenges emerge with providing a scaffolding for utilizing design skills and the lack of existing deliverable formats. 14
  • Thank you for listening! Juha Kronqvist juha.kronqvist@aalt o.fi Anna Salmi anna.salmi@aalto.fi 15