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Exploring the tools and uses of prototyping: investigating how knowing by doing takes shape 
Victor Potier (Université Gustave Eiffel)
Vinciane Zabban (Experice - Université Sorbonne Paris Nord)
Vincent Cardon (Université Picardie Jules Verne)
Eric Dagiral (Université Paris Cité)
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Combined Format Open Panel

Short Abstract:

Considering the proliferation of digital tools designed to streamline creative and technical processes in a more and more complex world, this open panel proposes to investigate contemporary knowledge production regimes. How knowing by doing takes shape in practice using prototyping digital tools ?

Long Abstract:

Prototyping is an evolving process of practical experimentation, aiming to bridge knowledge gaps and engage diverse audiences in knowledge creation (Vinck, 2003; Sánchez Criado et al., 2016; Downey & Zuiderent-Jerak, 2016). In digitized contexts, prototyping plays a central role in promoting collaborative innovation, facilitating stakeholders' adaptation of innovative concepts, and connecting creators with end-users (Potier, 2023). The contemporary landscape, characterized by intricate shifts including climate change, economic transitions, geopolitical challenges, and evolving participatory democracy, necessitates a reevaluation of established knowledge production methodologies (Henry et al., 2021; Proctor, 2012). In this context, prototyping holds the potential to move beyond traditional large-scale evaluation and innovation infrastructures, favoring agile, smaller settings for negotiating practical transformative techniques.

Recent developments have seen the proliferation of digital tools (production platforms, AI agents) designed to streamline creative and technical processes. Their role in prototyping deserves further research attention. In sectors such as software production, education, healthcare, agriculture, arts, intermediary design devices have gained prominence. Often appearing as platforms or infrastructures (Srnicek, 2017; Plantin et al., 2018), they often seek a balance between commercial objectives and democratization goals.

Creative industries have enthusiastically embraced production platforms (i.e. Unity, Unreal engine in video games), fostering interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and professional communities. However, they are not immune to critique, particularly regarding their impact on product design and the development of dependencies among stakeholders (Brendan & Keogh, 2019; Salter & Murray, 2014).

Our open panel eagerly welcomes paper proposals focused on prototyping platforms and tools in practice, with a particular emphasis on how digital technologies shape these processes and the associated collectives. Contributions exploring historical aspects or analog prototyping tools, providing a counterpoint to contemporary discussions are also very welcome. Finally, we encourage workshop proposals centered on the experimentation of prototyping platforms and tools.

Accepted contributions:

Session 1