Who cares? How design thinking might help STS become more interesting

Morten Krogh Petersen

Research output: Contribution to conference without publisher/journalConference abstract for conferenceResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The phenomenon of design thinking has gained widespread attention over the past decade. Somehow, design thinkers have succeeded in persuading businesses, the public sector and research institutions alike that they all can find value in the specific way that professional design thinkers attack and solve problems. Design thinking tends to be depicted as a wonder cure resulting in not only commercial success, but also democratic inclusion and, possibly, environmentally sustainable solutions. While the many promises are certainly problematic (e.g. Kimbell 2011; 2012), this paper suggests that STS might still learn from design thinking. While design thinking enjoys its place in the spotlight, social science research struggles to argue for its own relevance. In recent years, hopes of coming to matter (cf. Law 2004) have become more and more firmly attached to the idea of research as a collaborative endeavour. Drawing on the ontological relationalism of Donna J. Haraway and Bruno Latour, Casper Bruun Jensen and Peter Lauritsen symptomatically suggest that social science research is “about exploring common futures with practices” (Jensen & Lauritsen 2005: 73), rather than representing practices. If that is the case, the great challenge is to “come up with ingenious solutions to the problem of how to become interesting enough for practices to care about” (ibid: 72). Through ethnographic fieldwork encounters with Radicand Design Collaboratory, a collaborative product development consultancy located in Silicon Valley’s Redwood City, the paper suggests that design thinking as it unfolds at Radicand has a lot to offer STS in overcoming this challenge. Notably, through an absolute and irrefutable commitment to rapid prototyping, Radicand cultivates an attitude towards the configuration of present and future practices – their own as well as others’ – where there is always more to learn, always more collaborative and hands-on ways of modestly exploring the present and possible future configurations of practices.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2015
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Event2nd Nordic Science and Technology Studies (STS) Conference - AAU CHP, København, Denmark
Duration: 27 May 201529 May 2015
Conference number: 2

Conference

Conference2nd Nordic Science and Technology Studies (STS) Conference
Number2
LocationAAU CHP
CountryDenmark
CityKøbenhavn
Period27/05/201529/05/2015

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