Radical innovation by theoretical abstraction: A challenge for the user-centred designer

Mikael Wahlström (Corresponding Author), Hannu Karvonen, Leena Norros, Jussi P. P. Jokinen, Hanna Koskinen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    4 Citations (Scopus)


    It is generally accepted that scientific disciplines such as psychology, sociology, and anthropology contribute beneficially to design by providing understanding of users' needs, experiences, and desires. Arguably, however, these disciplines have more to contribute, because they include theories and models that can be applied as design frames and principles. More specifically, goal-setting, visualization, thematization, and conceptual reconfiguration are general mechanisms through which theories translate into design contributions. Actualizing radical design solutions via these mechanisms is discussed: theories provide appropriate means of abstraction, which allows 'distance' from user data; departure from the existing design and user paradigms toward 'what has not yet been imagined' is thereby possible. These suggestions draw from and are exemplified by a ship bridge design case.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)857-877
    JournalThe Design Journal
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2016
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • case study
    • design knowledge
    • design theory
    • framing
    • social theory


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