Insane in the Membrane - Insane in the Brain! A Case Study on How Design Thinking Affects Cluster Collaboration

Linda Hrönn Björgvinsdóttir & Lýdía Huld Grímsdóttir

Student thesis: Master thesis


The purpose of this study is to gain a deeper understanding on how design thinking methods can affect cluster collaboration, and the role of cluster facilitators in that process. The study is a qualitative single case study with an interpretive approach. The case presents a collaborative cluster initiative between the member actors of Lean Energy Cluster (hereafter: LEC) that was encouraged through a design thinking workshop facilitated by an organization called Design2innovate (hereafter: D2i). Furthermore, it portrays a picture of the role of the cluster facilitators in that process. The focus of the thesis is to shed light on how design thinking methods were applied in the workshop and how they affected the participants to collaborate, as well as the influence of the cluster facilitators. The findings revealed that by communicating and interacting through the design thinking methods in the workshop, a transformation of knowledge took place. This decreased the cognitive distance between the participants. With the help of the objective process facilitators from D2i, the new approach of working together, and an increased level of interaction throughout the workshop, a trusting relationship developed and new knowledge was produced by the group. That influenced the participants to make sense of the situation as beneficial and enabled them to constructively manage their differences, leading them to the mode of collaboration. Based on the findings, the role of LEC' facilitators is essential in the whole process of this case. They act as bridge builders to bring different actors of the cluster together by providing them with a platform such as the workshop and a method to generate new ideas and ease interaction. When an indicator of a collaboration project is evolving, as was the outcome of the workshop, the cluster facilitators play a role as leaders in pushing the project through and encouraging members to interact and contribute. It can be argued that with the involvement of participants, a design expert as an objective process facilitator, the leadership and encouragement of the cluster facilitators, design thinking in the form and context it was used in this case, can affect cluster collaboration to be strengthened.

EducationsMSc in Business, Language and Culture, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2013
Number of pages116