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Researchers
Supervisors

 

Host institution: Copenhagen Business School, Denmark
Lead supervisor: Bo T. Christensen: bc.marktg AT cbs.dk
Researcher: Balder Onarheim

Examine the use of visual aids during problem solving in industrial design contexts as a way to support the mental simulation of end users and markets

Description:
In many design companies the link between market comprehension and product development still suffers from ‘over the wall’ type company procedures where marketers ‘hand over’ knowledge about consumer segments and needs to product developers who are then responsible for creating a suitable product matching these groups and needs. For several reasons such an ‘over the wall’ approach has proven ineffective. For example, previous research has shown that designers frequently encounter the problem of not knowing particular aspects of the market/customer/user characteristics very well, resulting in confusion about the right way forward. Tools and procedures for breaking down the wall are needed. One such common approach is the deployment of cross-functional heterogeneous product development groups.

However, here an original approach is taken: developing tools to support design cognition of users and markets. Such tools may provide support of relevant aspects of user needs, segments and behaviour in design problem solving sessions. In particular, mental simulation (‘thought experimentation’) of users and segments may be supported by strategically employing visual aids during design problem solving that will both provide new and relevant information about users and segments, and support cognition by directing thought towards user related aspects at relevant times. The application domain will be industrial design (e.g., at Coloplast A/S).

Outcomes:
Project outcomes will include tools or journal descriptions of tools to support design cognition of users and markets. The tools may include descriptions of presentation times (in terms of optimal cognitive support times in the design thinking process), content selection, technical installation and optimization, and the like. Further, validation of the tools will be sought in experiments with real-world design researchers. The unique combination of marketing and design cognition at CBS/marketing will provide an excellent basis for this PhD project.