10:50 - 12:30
Session: S02
[Systems and Users] + Design
Collaborative Framing in Professional Design Practice
Design Process; Framing; Collaborative Design; Professional Design Practice; Field Study
Wenlin ZHANG, Jin MA

Designers collaborate extensively with other stakeholders in professional settings. These actors frame the design situation in varying perspectives and go through a long negotiation process to create collectively agreed upon frames. Understanding this socio-collaborative aspect of the design process requires an expanded view of framing that considers power hierarchies and communication barriers in authentic settings. This study sheds light on the dynamics and practices underpinning collaborative framing. Based on a 3-month field study in an industrial design consultancy, we conducted qualitative analysis on in-situ, real-time data captured from 48 product development meetings and conversations. While the prevailing literature tends to assume that individual-level frames are equally expressed and successively developed among actors to culminate in collective-level frames, our analysis instead highlights that individual and collective-level frames constantly shape one another’s evolvement, that power relations feature in collaborative framing practices and that collaborative framing appears to be dominated by the reccurent revisitations of previous framings. By reconceptualising collaborative framing as a cross-level, power-related and recurrent process, our findings extend insights to advance framing theory in real-world design practice.