Framing and Reframing – The Emergence of Design Constraints

DS 81: Proceedings of NordDesign 2014, Espoo, Finland 27-29th August 2014

Year: 2014
Editor: Miko Laakso, Kalevi Ekman
Author: Wenngren, Johan; Ericson, Asa; Holmqvist, Johan
Series: NordDESIGN
Institution: Lulea University of Technology, Sweden
Section: Design theory and practices
Page(s): 500-509
ISBN: 978-1-904670-58-2


Open-ended problems provides a window for innovations, but understanding the actual problem is challenging. Typically, teams might settle on their first impression as the design problem. Such an approach usually ends up in, not a bad solution, but in a solution that might not solve the right problem. Radical innovation literature suggests that teams should challenge their perspective of the problem, e.g. frame and reframe it, before solving it. This paper presents a study of how framing and reframing contributes to determining the constraints of two different types of design problems. A project course provides the particular data for the study, the result indicate that technological oriented problems needs support that forces the team to diverge from their initial design vision and that radical oriented problems needs support that encourage deliberation in the team. In conclusion support is required to be flexible, in open-ended design tasks, to fit its purpose.

Keywords: Design thinking, design reasoning, innovation, concept development, wicked problems


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