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Which design actions promote value-led innovation?

How conversations can be translated into design actions that foster alignment, convergence and lead to a collective decision-making approach.
Decorative image, hand wearing a mechanical device that gives the wearer an extra finger or thumb for increased mobility. By Dani Clode, The Third Thumb
© The Royal College of Art
What kind of design actions would deploy conversations that promote a value-led innovation? Here, we outline how conversations can be translated into design actions that foster alignment, convergence and lead to a collective approach in decision making.

This feedback-based methodology joins together the concept of boundary objects, conversations and the creativity of design. By leveraging the capacity of boundary objects to communicate different meanings, design speaks heuristically to those involved in the discussion by visualising the context where these meanings are located in somebody’s mind through a scenario-based approach.

Design shifts the discussion

Design elicits awareness of diversity and helps to shift the discussion from the object to the different meanings of the object, which makes diversity the object of conversation. This process generates feedback that nudges change and alignment, and, in an innovation process, helps participants build trust in the team through the convergence of the different heuristic knowledge. Design supports this process by providing team members with a scenario where their heuristic knowledge gets compared through elements visualised and extracted from the scenario. This narrative-based approach that design offers generates nuances for negotiations stemming from one’s mindset. Within this process, personal values are the object of negotiation; they are at the foreground of the conversation.

A process based on stories

A design intervention aimed at stimulating value-led innovation is therefore a process based on stories that define scenarios where people can think and imagine their approach to innovation in relation to values. Through conversations, these stories foster a strategy of agreement and make questions tangible through contextualisation to specific scenarios. This approach elicits agreement through the team members’ imagination and heuristic knowledge.

© The Royal College of Art
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