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Sense And Symbolic Objects: Strategic Sensemaking Through Design

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"This paper reports on an ongoing investigation into one aspect of the design thinking phenomenon, namely the use of designed artifacts — sketches, renderings, graphics, models and prototypes — as symbolic objects in strategy making and implementation. It examines the conceptual overlap between design and the strategic cognition perspective, which considers cognitive processes and structures involved in strategic decision making, particularly the phenomenon of sensemaking. It is primarily a theoretical exploration, but draws on two short testimonies from designers. The specific conceptual connection between design practice and strategic cognition theory is potentially valuable to business leaders and managers involved with innovation, design management and strategic decisions. Preliminary findings suggest sensemaking activities by designers generate innovative future concepts with far-reaching strategic implications; designed artifacts aid sensemaking and sensegiving by management in exploring new business opportunities and directions. This paper is an early draft of a fuller account to be published in 2013 (AIEDAM Special Issue, Spring 2013, Vol.27, No.2, Studying and Supporting Design Communication, Edited by: Maaike Kleinsmann & Anja Maier)."


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 18th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2012


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