Accepted paper:

The mundane and strategic work in collaborative design


Sampsa Hyysalo (Aalto University)

Paper short abstract:

We examine collaborative design activities in a major public building project and show how these were thoroughly permeated by practical work, project pragmatics and strategic actions, and internal competences. This raises the question about interrelation between "design" and broader "design work".

Paper long abstract:

The tradition in S&TS is to study how technology, knowledge, and expertise are produced as not only as intellectual pursuits but as practical accomplishments, including mundane work and strategic actions. This perspective is useful in studying the kinds of work that go into achieving collaborative design, and suggest these are examined as co-constitutive to the processes, results, and further uptake of collaborative design outcomes as internal issues of user involvement and not just its external context or excludable routine execution. Attention to strategizing, types of work and project pragmatics is an emerging line of S&TS work on design. Continuing this line of investigation, we examine user involvement actions, which were conducted between 2012 and 2015 in the context of Helsinki Central Library project, a €100m flagship. We specifically analyze the retrospectives by the designers on six of the participation activities (out of total of twelve): open idea gathering on the web, open idea gathering in public events, idea refinement, participatory budgeting, focused interest group workshops, and a formation of the user-developer community. The most salient cross-cutting feature of all collaborative design activities and their post-mortem assessments was that they had been permeated by practical work, strategizing, and internal constituency competences, and that this permeation featured significantly in their merits and shortcomings. This however poses a further question - where does design end in all the work that goes into achieving collaborative design, and which thoroughly affects the design processes?

panel B07
Situating designs