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Discovering the Real Needs of the Client

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Discovering the Real Needs of the Client – possibilities of grounded theory in design processes 




As service providers for SMEs, designers usually have to adapt to various

needs when working in cooperation with different clients. However, these

needs and requirements are often not transparent and cannot be determined

in a structured way. In this investigation, data is collected through narrative

interviews, which often reveal information the interviewees themselves are

unaware of. Furthermore, grounded theory will be discussed as a possible

basis for a profound, empirical research method that is also applicable to the

field of design. The present contribution analyzes the fields of ‘motivation for

change’, ‘communication structure’ and ‘project management’. On the basis

of these three fields, various forms of cooperation among designers and

clients will be described and compared. Research questions considered are:

What kind of designer best fits the requirements of a company? Do

entrepreneurs need a visionary leader or a structured realist for their tasks?

Do designers need the leadership qualities of a team player or rather of a

steersman? Do companies need designers to act as psychologists or

educators? A concluding overview/summary will describe different

characteristics of designer skills in relation to job requirements – all excerpted
from the empirical field study.


PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014


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