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The value of designers' creative practice within complex collaborations

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Simon BowenORCiD, Professor Abi DurrantORCiD, Bettina Nissen, Professor John Bowers, Emeritus Professor Pete Wright


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This paper reports a case study investigating the productive value of designers' creative practice within complex academic-industrial collaborations in which a designer's practice had a formative role. Adopting a pragmatic approach, collaborators' experiences of this project were reconstructed through interviews and 'annotated timelines.' Collaborators were found to value the designer's work in responding to their particular concerns whilst also opening up new possibilities. This paper discusses how such benefit is attributable to the designerly thinking' of skilled designers, shifting the focus of work from problem-solving to problematisation and enabling participants to collectively formulate concerns, roles, and potentialities. The paper concludes that designers' creative practice can enable collaborative projects to build upon and transcend participants' expertise and expectations through 'creative exchange.' (C) 2016 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Bowen S, Durrant A, Nissen B, Bowers J, Wright P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Design Studies

Year: 2016

Volume: 46

Pages: 174-198

Print publication date: 01/09/2016

Online publication date: 06/07/2016

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 24/10/2016

ISSN (print): 0142-694X

ISSN (electronic): 1872-6909

Publisher: Elsevier Science Ltd.


DOI: 10.1016/j.destud.2016.06.001


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Funder referenceFunder name
AH/J005150/1UK AHRC KE Hub for the Creative Economy
ECF-2012-642Leverhulme Trust
ECF-2012-642Leverhulme Trust, The