Developing a Human-centred and Science-based Approach to Design: The Knowledge Management Platform Project


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The gap between theory and practice is a persistent problem in management and organization research. In this respect, several scholars have suggested that ‘design’ is an ideal-typical form of mode 2 knowledge production. Design research develops knowledge in the service of action and problem solving in organizational settings. In this paper, we connect two perspectives on design that can be considered to be largely complementary but have hardly been combined and integrated in practice: science-based design drawing on design propositions grounded in research and human-centred design emphasizing an active and systematic participation by users and other stakeholders. An integrated approach that builds on both perspectives is developed and subsequently applied to designing and developing a portal for mapping competencies in an information technology cluster. This project involves creating problem awareness and articulating design propositions as well as developing scenarios of use, experimenting with prototypes, and organizational transformation. As such, this methodology addresses the dual challenge of rigour and relevance by producing both scientific and practical knowledge.