Coaching designer’s mindset, Using a design thinking approach when developing the work practices 
of ‘non-designers’

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School of Arts, Design and Architecture | Master's thesis
Ask about the availability of the thesis by sending email to the Aalto University Learning Centre oppimiskeskus@aalto.fi
Location:
P1 OPINNÄYTTEET D 2015 Neuvonen-Mulvie
Date
2015
Department
Major/Subject
Mcode
Degree programme
Language
en
Pages
111+57
Series
Abstract
Businesses are increasingly focused on creating innovations to create market disruption. Design is currently often regarded in the business domain as a provider for tools to foster and enhance innovation, especially from the customer perspective. Increasingly, professionals that are not trained as designers are pursuing to integrate designerly approaches and practices to their work as well as leading the innovation activities. This thesis lies on practical grounds at the intersection of design and business, where I embrace and make use of my professional design background as a way of coaching ‘non-trained designers’ operating in the business realm, in designer practices. The thesis looks for an answer to the following overarching research question: how to improve working practices related to innovation at the fuzzy front-end of product development? It discusses how design thinking in general, co-creation, and co-design ideas would benefit developing the fuzzy front end work practices, what it would entail to empower those not trained as designers to use these tools, and identify the challenges around these ideas. The thesis is based on a study pro-ject in which I engaged with the Suunto company, and their Consumer experience (CX) team, which is responsible for collecting customer and market insights, strengthening customer under-standing and practices across the company. CX team consists of eight non-trained designers. The study project was set to find solutions how to improve and clarify the existing daily working practices of the CX team around their ‘Consumer Exploration package development process’ using co-creative techniques. The outcomes of the study project were a method presentation, “Consumer Exploration Package (CXP) working method”, and its supporting toolkit to be used by non-trained designers, which are inspired from design thinking and co-creative design practices. The thesis concludes with a set of suggestions for teams operating at the fuzzy front end. The collaborative attitude and skills for co-creation are becoming increasingly important in designing solutions for our complex world. Developing innovating work practices at the fuzzy front end for non-trained designers is largely about applying a ‘designer mind-set’: this entails an empathic attitude towards the customer and a design approach that helps tackle problems creatively, as inspired by design thinking, co-design and management practices. Such an approaches makes it easier to trigger and nurture collaboration and meaning making processes between participants, but it is not problem free. To make use of a ‘designer mind-set’ and co-creative techniques requires diffused experience in design practices, which can be acquired by working closely with the design realm. Here, I emphasise the role of expert designers in ‘design coaching’ to improve the design practices in other domains, with and for other professionals.
Description
Supervisor
Vuori, Rasmus
Thesis advisor
Saad-Sulonen, Joanna
Gävert, Nuppu
Keywords
intersection of the design and business, design thinking and co-design, working practices and innovation, non-trained designers and role of expert designers, fuzzy front end, service and product development
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