Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Recent publications

Here are some of my recent publications in peer-reviewed journals. Some of them have been years in the making, a combination of major life changes (having a child, serious illness, moving house three times, family illness, being made redundant, etc, etc) and some are to do with the slow pace of peer review. But another important factor is that sometimes it takes time to get the ideas right - working out what you are trying to say and to whom. In contrast to the world of twitter and blogging, the slower speed of academic writing, reading, reviewing and dialogue can - if things go well - produce rich, more thought-through contributions. Or at least this has been what I have been telling myself as I revise and revise again. And then of course there is the pressure to perform as a researcher by creating public, traceable outputs that locate yourself in relation to other academic productions. Ironically now that I am no longer an academic (in the sense of having a faculty post), here, at last, is some product.

Only one of these papers are easily available through an open access journal; the others are in journals that require subscription, which means they are therefore inaccessible unless you have university library access. Please contact me directly if you would like a digital copy of my original text.

Kimbell, L. (2011) Rethinking Design Thinking: Part 1, Design and Culture, 3(3): 285-306.
(Accessing this journal requires a subscription).

ABSTRACT The term design thinking has gained attention over the past decade in a wide range of contexts beyond the traditional preoccupations of designers. The main idea is that the ways professional designers problem-solve is of value to firms trying to innovate and to societies trying to make change happen. This paper reviews the origins of the term design thinking in research about designers and its adoption by management educators and consultancies within a dynamic, global mediatized economy. Three main accounts are identified: design thinking as a cognitive style, as a general theory of design, and as a resource for organizations. The paper argues there are several issues that undermine the claims made for design thinking. The first is how many of these accounts rely on a dualism between thinking and knowing, and acting in the world. Second, a generalized design thinking ignores the diversity of designers’ practices and institutions which are historically situated. The third is how design thinking rests on theories of design that privilege the designer as the main agent in designing. Instead the paper proposes that attending to the situated, embodied routines of designers and others offers a useful way to rethink design thinking.

KEYWORDS: Design thinking, practices, designers, innovation, organization design

Kimbell, L. (2011) Designing for Service as One Way of Designing Services, International Journal of Design, 5(2): 41-52.
(This journal is open access and the paper is available here)

ABSTRACT This paper considers different ways of approaching service design, exploring what professional designers who say they design services are doing. First it reviews literature in the design and management fields, including marketing and operations. The paper proposes a framework that clarifies key tensions shaping the understanding of service design. It then presents an ethnographic study of three firms of professional service designers and details their work in three case studies. The paper reports four findings. The designers approached services as entities that are both social and material. The designers in the study saw service as relational and temporal and thought of value as created in practice. They approached designing a service through a constructivist enquiry in which they sought to understand the experiences of stakeholders and they tried to involve managers in this activity. The paper proposes describing designing for service as a particular kind of service design. Designing for service is seen as an exploratory process that aims to create new kinds of value relation between diverse actors within a socio-material configuration. This has implications for existing ways of understanding design and for research, practice and teaching.

KEYWORDS: Designing for Service, Service Design, Service Management.

Kimbell, L. (2011) An Aesthetic Inquiry into Organizing Some Rats and Some People, Tamara: Journal for Critical Organizational Inquiry, 9(3-4): 77-92.
(Accessing this journal requires a subscription).

ABSTRACT Rats crawling, an art gallery, rats as art, warm furry bodies, bright plastic tubes, disgusting, chilled dead frogs, rats for science, a preparation, a sweet little rat, a village hall, women in white coats, rats in cages, a rosette, urine, a rat in a pouch, cuddles, rats for art, the winner is, strong black tea, how many do you have, in the literature, breeding, get more rats, a rat down a sleeve, I’’ll give you a lift, sign in, a rack of cages, what is that, the data shows, please wash your hands, they can smell your perfume, protestors, I don’’t know, a knock out, brain surgery, squeak squeak, the Morris water maze, toys, slice, you are a messy boy, the critique, I haven’’t got a licence, drawings, rats in art, do you mind, a duvet, insurance, a queue, a drawing device, sugar rats, chunky knits, where’’s the nearest rat, black rubbery tails, video camera, a T-maze, sawdust, a cleavage, nail clippings, face painting, artist rat, drawings, it’’s different, two young women, a judge, art for rats, agility training, he remembers from last time.

KEYWORDS: Art, Aesthetics, Rats, Research, Rancière