uwid.uni-wuppertal.de## Heterogeneity in Design – Potential for conflict and cooperation in collaboration with SMEs
On 04.07.2017 Sylke Lützenkirchen successfully defended her dissertation at the chair of Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf at the Bergische Universi-tät Wuppertal. The work was awarded summa cum laude by the examination board (Prof. Dr. Brigitte Wolf, Design Theory; Prof. Dr. Viola Hartung-Beck, Applied Social Sciences; Prof. Andreas Kalweit, Manufacturing & Material Science; Prof. Dr. Johannes Busmann, Media Design; Dr. Marc Grünhagen, Chair of Business Foundation and Economic Development).
Cooperation has always enabled people to achieve extraordinary results. Famous buildings or technical inventions with all their constant-ly advancing developments could never have come into being without efficient cooperation. Yet conflict affects such projects decisively. It also affects people themselves - both psychologically and physically - and has a significant impact on the reality of their lives. Conflict can hinder people in a negative way, but it can also change people for the better and enable sustainable solutions.
In cooperation with small and medium-sized enterprises, creative companies develop new ideas, products and services, and customer-specific adaptations; and produce unique products or prototypes - mostly non-technical innovations or so-called soft innovations. The decisive factor here is the ability of creative people to network their knowledge, to recombine it and to translate it into products and services. Cultural and creative companies are also valued for their very distinctive view of business issues and their ability to develop concrete business models and user-oriented products from new trends.
In her research, Ms. Lützenkirchen shows that conflicts are heterogeneous positions in the collaboration between designers and their clients as well as solutions for change. In addition, she describes areas that already exist as mutually perceived positive potentials in the collaboration and that can strengthen it, and concludes her work with an applications transfer. She derives her results from a qualitative empirical study of narrative interviews developed for this research and places the methodological object in the realm of subjective pat-terns of interpretation by analyzing, describing and contrasting the values, attitudes and needs of designers and companies, as well as the subjective experience of their collaboration.
Her research provides answers to the questions: How do companies and designers work together? What are their specific goals, expecta-tions and needs in collaboration? When is the collaboration successful? In order to work out the expectations and goals in this little-explored field, the study was broadly based and informed by economics, social sciences and design science.
With its results, the research work contributes to an improved perception and to easier handling of conflicts between partners, creates transparency, and alters cooperation in design projects in a sustainable way. With the help of the application scorecards developed from the research, designers can assess themselves as well as their customers and derive knowledge about the attitudes, values and needs of their customers in general, or of a specific customer. All in all, the results of this work allow a first reflective approach and a first foray into a wide, so far little-investigated and firmly closed field of research, as well as bringing new insights into the research discourse.
When one considers the great economic relevance of SMEs, which account for 99.5% of all German companies, it is clear that improved cooperation, particularly in the area of innovative development work, is an important economic opportunity - especially in view of the competitiveness of companies and the increasing stress of competition for designers.
Link to publication: elpub.bib.uni-wuppertal.de/servlets/DocumentServlet