/design & innovation against poverty/



‘Concept cars’ as vehicles for change in SMEs

Mejia Sarmiento, J. R., Pasman, G., Hultink, E. J., & Stappers, P. J.

Making prototypes of fictitious artifacts has long been applied in corporations as a design-led way to envisioning the future. These techniques make use of design to explore speculative futures translating abstract questions into concrete objects and bringing the human dimension and experience into futures techniques. The design-led strategic foresight techniques follow making activities – including visual synthesis, prototyping, and storytelling – and result in experimental and experiential artifacts offering concrete, hands-on, and specific images of the futures. An example of these techniques is the making and sharing of concept cars, a long- standing practice in the automotive industry. These artifacts facilitate the sharing of future visions, which embody future ideas, to diverse people.
Whereas corporations use these design-led strategic foresight techniques as a driver for innovation, small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of society and the global economy, have been deprived of these kinds of explorations due to their being resource intensive. To help these enterprises, we developed DIVE (design, innovation, vision, and exploration) based on design-led strategic foresight techniques developed by corporations but adapted to the scale and needs of these small players. DIVE helps external designers and company representatives in making and sharing artifacts to envision the future of their company. The technique follows an analogy that invites participants to make a hole in the world as it is and descend underwater to the speculative futures and then come back to the reality. Along with this plunge into fiction, participants identify trends, create ideas about the future, and make a prototype of an artifact that is subsequently used to motivate people to talk about the company’s future and present. This artifact, the vision concept, includes ideas about the future product or service, the context, and the business itself.
This paper aims to evaluate DIVE as a design-led strategic foresight technique and focuses on the benefits and limitations of its application. It includes two cases that explored the future of the shopping experience for the company Solutions Group. It is a Colombian medium-sized enterprise that develops and produces point-of-purchase materials for consumer goods corporations such as Procter & Gamble. In both cases, the participants employed DIVE activities to make and share a vision concept. At the end of the cases, the DIVE outcomes were validated by three external innovation experts. DIVE proved its efficacy in supporting designers in setting future visions, prototyping vision concepts and stories, and making recommendations for different time frames, and participants also learned about the strategic value of design.

Read the full document here.

Cited (APA) as: Mejia Sarmiento, J. R., Pasman, G., Hultink, E. J., & Stappers, P. J. (2020). ‘Concept cars’ as vehicles for change in SMEs. In Temes de Disseny, Design Futures Now: Literacies and Making (36).

Javier Ricardo Mejia Sarmiento

Vision Concepts for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Developing a Design-Led Futures Technique to Boost Innovation

Citation (APA)

Mejia Sarmiento, J. R. (2018). Vision Concepts for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises: Developing a Design-Led Futures Technique to Boost Innovation. The Netherlands: TUDelft. https://doi.org/10.4233/uuid:b561da67-ced6-40b9-8f97-ed109439ea4c

Abstract

Concept cars have long been successfully applied in the automotive industry as a design-led way to envisioning the future. While automotive corporations use this futures technique as a driver for innovation, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in other industries have not had the benefit of such explorations, largely because concept cars are too resource-intensive and poorly suited to the SMEs’ needs and idiosyncrasies. To democratize this design practice and help SMEs, which are essential to social and economic prosperity, we have developed DIVE: Design, Innovation, Vision, and Exploration. It is a design-led futures technique that assists designers in making and using concept cars –as experimental artefacts that act as visions which embody ideas about the future– as ‘vehicles’ for innovation in SMEs, no longer confined to the automotive sector. Its development began with an inquiry into concept cars in the automotive industry and concept products and services in other industries. We then combined the insights derived from these design practices with elements of the existing techniques of critical design and design fiction into the creation of DIVE’s preliminary first version. This was then applied and evaluated in seven iterations with SMEs, resulting in DIVE’s alpha version. All iterations of DIVE in context show that SMEs can make and use concept cars, tailored to their own domain, to receive some of the benefits of exploring the future using design within the front-end of their innovation strategy. These companies can make concept cars to identify opportunities and threats and to give a sense of direction when they face a significant change. DIVE begins with setting a vision, embedded in an artifact, and then working backward to map a path of ideas, connecting the future to the present. Although the results of these activities might be less flashy than concept cars, these simple prototypes and videos help SMEs internalize and share a clear and concrete image of a preferable future for employees, allies, and investors. Concept cars, prototypes of the future, can also be used at the start of a new product’s design process to combine all the results of investigations on product, market, and technology. Subsequently, it is used to define a design brief and as a criterion to select the most promising ideas.

Resumen

Los automóviles concepto (concept cars) han sido usados exitosamente en el sector automotriz como una forma de diseño orientada hacia el futuro. Mientras que las corporaciones automotrices utilizan esta técnica de anticipación de futuros como un motor para la innovación, las pequeñas y medianas empresas (PYME) en otras industrias no se han beneficiado de este tipo de exploraciones, en gran parte porque requieren demasiados recursos y son poco adecuadas para las necesidades e idiosincrasia de este tipo de empresas.
Para democratizar esta práctica de diseño y ayudar a las PYME, que son esenciales para la prosperidad social y económica, hemos desarrollado DIVE: diseño, innovación, visión y exploración. Es una técnica de futuro dirigida por el diseño, que ayuda a los diseñadores a fabricar y utilizar automóviles concepto como artefactos experimentales para visualizar el futuro. Estos artefactos actúan como vehículos para la innovación en este tipo de compañías, no limitadas al sector automotriz.
El desarrollo de DIVE comenzó con una investigación sobre los automóviles concepto en la industria automotriz y los productos y servicios concepto en otras industrias. Luego, se combinaron los conocimientos derivados de estas prácticas con elementos del diseño crítico (critical design) y del diseño de ficción (design fiction), en la creación de la primera versión de DIVE, que luego se aplicó y evaluó en siete iteraciones con PYME, lo que dio como resultado la versión final de esta técnica.
Todas las iteraciones de DIVE evidencian que las PYME pueden hacer y usar automóviles concepto, aplicados a su propio contexto de negocio, para recibir algunos de los beneficios del diseño cuando exploran el futuro. Así, estas compañías pueden convertir a los automóviles concepto en una práctica de diseño dentro de su estrategia de innovación para identificar oportunidades y amenazas, y dar un sentido de dirección cuando se enfrentan a un cambio significativo. Esta técnica comienza planteando una visión de futuro, materializada en un artefacto, y luego, desde esa proyección, mira hacia atrás para trazar un camino de ideas, conectando el futuro con el presente. Si bien los resultados de estas actividades pueden ser menos llamativos que los automóviles concepto tradicionales, estos prototipos y videos simples ayudan a las PYME a interiorizar y compartir una imagen clara y concreta de un futuro preferible para los empleados, aliados e inversionistas. Los automóviles concepto, como prototipos del futuro, también pueden usarse al comienzo del proceso de diseño de un nuevo producto, ya que combinan todos los resultados de las investigaciones sobre el producto, el mercado y la tecnología. Posteriormente, se utiliza para definir un brief de diseño y como criterio para seleccionar las ideas más prometedoras.

More information / Más información: http://prueba.pktweb.com/dive/phd-dissertation/

Participatory construction of futures for the defense of human rights

Paula Astrid Mendez Gonzalez, Sofía Castañeda Mosquera, María Paula Bernal Tinjaca, Ricardo Mejía Sarmiento, Roberto Alejandro Morales Rubio, Juan Camilo Giraldo Manrique, and Santiago Baquero Lozano.

Participatory design allows for designing speculative futures through a collaborative approach. This paper explores how a human rights defense non-governmental organization and a group of designers could explore speculative futures collaboratively. It also reflects on how prototypes of these futures help the organization face potential changes in the country’s social model to make an impact on the defense of human rights during the next ten years. This case study presents how the use of participatory design and speculative design can allow NGOs to explore the futures, identify the opportunities and challenges they offer, and co-design a roadmap to act accordingly.

Keywords: Participatory design, speculative design, speculative prototypes, human rights defense.

Read the full paper here.

Cited (ACM) as: Paula Astrid Mendez Gonzalez, Sofía Castañeda Mosquera, María Paula Bernal Tinjaca, Ricardo Mejía Sarmiento, Roberto Alejandro Morales Rubio, Juan Camilo Giraldo Manrique, and Santiago Baquero Lozano. 2020. Participatory construction of futures for the defense of human rights. In Proceedings of the 16th Participatory Design Conference 2020- Participation(s) Otherwise – Vol. 2 (PDC ’20: Vol. 2), June 15–20, 2020, Manizales, Colombia. ACM, New York, NY, USA, 7 pages. https://doi.org/10.1145/3384772.3385155

Participatory Design Conference 2020: Participation(s) otherwise

Since Participatory Design’s (PD) emergence as a research community, PD scholars have asserted that design is a practical, social and political endeavour. Main commitments include: offering alternative technologies, rendering design processes democratic, open and accessible to wide participation, and amenable to critical scrutiny and mutual learning. By proposing the theme of Participation(s) otherwise, we want to invite the PD community to think further on the diverse meanings and ontologies that participation and design can take on. Let’s open up the understanding of “participation” beyond modernist narratives and theoretically “universal” cookie cutter solutions and account for diverse practices.

Read more about the journal PDC20VOL2-32 and here.

Javier Ricardo Mejia Sarmiento

Developing DIVE, a design-led futures technique for SMEs

Mejia Sarmiento, J. R., Pasman, G., Hultink, E. J., & Stappers, P. J.

Futures techniques have long been used in large enterprises as designerly means to explore the future and guide innovation. In the automotive industry, for instance, the development of concept cars is a technique which has repeatedly proven its value. However, while big companies have broadly embraced futures techniques, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have lagged behind in applying them, largely because they are too resource-intensive and poorly suited to the SMEs’ needs and idiosyncrasies. To address this issue, we developed DIVE: Design, Innovation, Vision, and Exploration, a design-led futures technique for SMEs. Its development began with an inquiry into concept cars in the automotive industry and concept products and services in other industries. We then combined the insights derived from these design practices with elements of the existing techniques of critical design and design fiction into the creation of DIVE’s preliminary first version, which was then applied and evaluated in two iterations with SMEs, resulting in DIVE’s alpha version. After both iterations in context, it seems that DIVE suits the SMEs because of its compact and inexpensive activities which emphasize making and storytelling. Although the results of these activities might be less flashy than concept cars, these simple prototypes and videos help SMEs internalize and share a clear image of a preferable future, commonly known as vision. Developing DIVE thus helped us explore how design can support SMEs in envisioning the future in the context of innovation.

Design of vision concepts to explore the future: Nature, context and design techniques

Mejia Sarmiento, J. R., Simonse, W. L., & Hultink, E. J.

Industrial firms are facing a constant dilemma, being ready for the future, have a vision, and at the same time act within the current situation, exploit current products efficiently. This research examines visions that embody future opportunities and ideas, “vision concepts” such as concept cars and concept kitchens. We studied five cases of vision concepts to unravel the nature of design techniques behind these vision concepts. Our findings present a comparison of similarities and differences in nature, organizational context, and design techniques. The key contribution of the study centers on a new understanding of how vision concepts explore the future though the embodiment of ideas and how designers share and lead the concept visioning process in the organizational context. We propose an initial framework for the design of vision concepts with significant implications for industrial firms.