Design interventions in small- and medium-sized companies: Initial findings from a case study
Kirsi NIINIMaKI, Oscar PERSON, Janne PEKKALA and Sanna PELTONEN
The business significance of design has made academics, industry
professionals, and policy-makers to all urge companies to use design more
strategically. Still, it remains a well-known fact that design is far from
universally utilized by companies with a marginalized role for design perhaps
most strongly articulated for small- and medium-sized companies.
Introducing designers (or design students) to development processes has
been a common practice for promoting design in the Nordic countries.
Subsidizing the involvement of designers in development processes has also
been a common practice to support the integration of design in Nordic
companies. In this paper, we refer to the early-stage involvement of designers
in such practices as design interventions. We also present preliminary findings
from a case study on design interventions and their capacity to cater for an
increased usage of design in small- and medium-sized in companies from the
Ostrobothnia region in Finland. In presenting preliminary findings from our
study, we describe how design interventions benefited four companies in
acquiring a greater understanding about design. Analyzing a broader set of
design interventions, we also discuss how basic project characteristics
potentially impact the success of design interventions. In particular, based on
the remarks of managers and designers, we note the presence of good
communication and a reflective development process in the studied projects.
PUBLISHED: Proceedings from the The 19th DMI: Academic Design Management Conference, 2014
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