Designing Users/Designing Innovation

Yutaka Yoshinaka (Author)

    Research output: Non-textual formSound/Visual production (digital)Research


    The paper addresses issues of user conceptualisation and representation in the processes of designing and innovating artifacts and use-practices. It is informed by early as well as more recent insights from technology studies within the new sociology of technology (e.g. Akrich 1995, Bijker & Law 1992, Vinck 2003). Based on an empirical study of a number of student projects at a university program in design engineering, the study will focus on the particular representational means entailed in the students’ work with (re)drawing boundaries when framing and constructing user identities and competencies. Characteristic of these projects are the interplay between the social and the technical dimensions in the process of product development, and the students are expected to apply socio-technical methodologies in their strategies. The students’ need to inform the design through iteratively identifying design restrains in relation to users descriptions, and vice versa. These processes open up, while also delimit, the design space with which the students can engage their insight and skills. The paper focuses on the engineering design students’ strategies for inscribing contextual knowledge and enhancing social insights and skills in the design process, a process which spans aspects of field work, analysis, ideation as well as synthesis and construction in the innovative dimensions which shapes their projects. The projects examined in the study vary in sociotechnical complexity and encompass themes ranging from user-oriented design to product redesign and workspace design, etc. It is expected that some of the insights gained from these projects may be related outside of the immediate context of the classroom, to inform the notion of competencies in engineering design and sociotechnical innovation and change in the realm of industry and society at large.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication date2006
    Publication statusPublished - 2006
    EventEuropean Association for the Study of Science and Technology: Reviewing Humanness: Bodies, Technologies and Spaces - Lausanne, Switzerland
    Duration: 23 Aug 200626 Aug 2006


    ConferenceEuropean Association for the Study of Science and Technology


    • User representation
    • engineering competences
    • design practices


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