Understanding Design Process: Developing a business tool for approaching design’s issues

Giuseppe Leonardo Pinto

Student thesis: Master thesis


New market’s priorities and perceptions radically changed the way competitiveness is perceived, mostly if a globalized economy is taken into account. Design, from being a differentiator mainly related to the objects’ form and shapes, increasingly acquired a prominent role in providing answers that simply go beyond the aesthetic aspect. In previous decades, meaning and strategies had been subjected to an increasing contamination with design, making the understanding of this discipline and its processual development an important issue for the business world to deal with. This thesis developed a multi-disciplinary theoretical framework to tackle and unfold precisely the peculiarities that characterize the design process, making it possible to answer this question: “What are the analytical processes behind product design and meaning creation, and how can a better understanding of these processes be beneficial for business?” The purpose of the thesis is to try to formalize an intuitive model that might be used by the business discipline as a tool to better comprehend the different stages that characterize a design process and, in this way, try to improve the quality and the collaboration between those two actors (business and design).Through an hermeneutic methodology, the whole process has been divided into four parts, and those same four parts (Design, Reasoning Patterns, Hermeneutics, Business), after an individual analysis, had been recollected in a single model. It was found that design as a subject per se is really complex to define if not applied to a concrete setting. In relation to reasoning patterns, two modalities of reasoning (Abduction type 1 and 2) have been ascribed as more adherent to design process; however those can be both employed in different paradigms, making the generation of different outcomes possible. Moreover, due to the unpredictability of the interpretation carried out by consumer in acknowledging product (hermeneutics), it is shown that a business strategy based on user-driven instead of design-driven innovation cannot be set aprioristically. The final map/guideline should be intended as an exemplified tool useful to provide insights to business on how the design process tend to outline and what are the critical steps and areas that should be taken into consideration when one wants to improve it. On the other hand, given its business nature, the present work might be interesting also for designers who are willing to gain a better overview on business strategies that consistently leverage on design.

EducationsMSocSc in Organisational Innovation and Entrepreneurship , (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2012
Number of pages93