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  • 2013KimbellPhD

    Final published version, 5.44 MB, PDF document

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An inventive practice perspective on designing

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Unpublished
  • Lucy Kimbell
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Publication date16/12/2013
Number of pages356
QualificationPhD
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Advisors
Publisher
  • Lancaster University
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

Two new fields of design are emerging. Design for services is concerned with the interactions between people and organisations, while designing for social innovation involves the application of design-based approaches, sometimes called “design thinking”, to issues such as ageing and well-being. Across contemporary sites of practice, teaching and research, key questions include understanding the object of design and distinctive ways to approach design for service and design for social innovation.

This study addresses this by developing a conceptualisation of the relations between people and things in design for service and design for social innovation as unfolding within sociomaterial practices. The methodology developed involves remixing existing case studies with theoretical concepts from Science and Technology Studies and forging links with research within design studies, Participatory Design and Computer Supported Cooperative Work. The result is to advance an inventive practice perspective on designing which attends to how sociomaterial configurations arise through the co-articulation or mutual elaboration of heterogeneous actors resulting in new meanings and identities, skills and procedures, and forms, capacities and properties that emerge in practice. This perspective offers two analytical foci. The first, designs-in-practice, highlights the sociomaterial configurations of people and things. The second, design-as-practice, is attentive to how actants come into being agential during intentional or unconscious designing that tries to configure particular kinds of emergence in practice. Five characteristics of inventive practice arise through this remixing of cases and theoretical research: intra-action; inventiveness; ignorance; accountabilities; and temporalities.

The contribution is to open up new ways of understanding the object of design and propose how to characterize approaches to design for service and design for social innovation. This broadens the nature of participation in design for services and for social innovation and links research literatures, which have to date had few intersections.