Conference Paper

The Life and Death of Design Ideas

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Springer International Publishing


The paper explores the question why a design process ends up with a particular result. We analyze a collaborative design process where different stakeholders design an urban site using a participatory design tool. Our analysis is based on Schön’s view of design as a process of ‘seeing-moving-seeing’ combined with the concept of choice from Schütz. Analyzing the case provides an understanding of the ways in which ideas ‘move’ a design. We describe the dynamics of collaborative design work where design ideas are moved forward or deliberately blocked from being pursued further. We point to how design decisions are interlinked, making it possible to see how some design decisions are more important than others. Our analysis is narrative in character, but we also present a technique for visualizing the ‘life and death’ of design ideas.


Bratteteig, Tone; Rolstad, Ole Kristian; Wagner, Ina (2016): The Life and Death of Design Ideas. COOP 2016: Proceedings of the 12th International Conference on the Design of Cooperative Systems. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-33464-6_16. Springer International Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-319-33463-9. pp. 259-275. Trento, Italy. 23-27 May 2016