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Making Design Explicit in Organisational Change: Detour or Latour

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Michael Pierre JOHNSON and Lynn-Sayers McHATTIE


This paper explores a Latourian approach in addressing the challenge for
Design Management to integrate design strategically within small, medium
enterprises (SMEs). Design thinking’s positioning towards providing an
accessible and open process for organisational change is argued to currently
manifest a rhetorical detour around the role of design practice. The proposal
is that the role of design can be expressed in the repeated interactions
between participants and design artifacts, and how these are then translated
into the organisation.


The paper uses a case-study method to produce a situated account of design
work within a strategic design intervention with an SME. Drawing on
Latourian principles around actor-network theory (ANT), observations and
accounts of the intervention are grounded in the use of tools, artefacts and
activities deployed. This allows for analysis exploring the traceable influences
design artefacts have on the work being performed and a reflective space for
designers to assess their performative agency.


The paper proposes an approach to the constraints and opportunities that
design management encounter around the matters of concern for
organisational change; and in so doing, how this can inform reflective design


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


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