A Spectrum of Stakeholder Perspective Taking in Early-Stage Design

DS 122: Proceedings of the Design Society: 24th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED23)

Year: 2023
Editor: Kevin Otto, Boris Eisenbart, Claudia Eckert, Benoit Eynard, Dieter Krause, Josef Oehmen, Nad
Author: Rieken, Elizabeth (1); Bond, Kathleen (2); Best, Rachel Moore (2); Burleson, Grace (1); Brubaker, Eric Reynolds (1)
Series: ICED
Institution: 1: NASA Langley Research Center; 2: The Human Factor
Section: Design Methods
Page(s): 0395-0404
DOI number: https://doi.org/10.1017/pds.2023.40


Stakeholder perspective taking is a critical skill in early-stage problem exploration and framing. We examined stakeholder perspective taking within an early-stage design team of engineers at NASA to begin to understand in what ways and under what conditions designers adopt stakeholder perspectives in the context of professional engineering organizations. Our findings identify a spectrum of perspective taking during problem framing deliberations that ranges from (1) fully taking the stakeholder’s point of view (POV), (2) interpreting the stakeholder’s POV using the designer’s POV, (3) implanting the stakeholder’s POV into the designer’s POV, to (4) fully taking the designer’s own POV. We also identify and describe conditions that appeared to encourage or hinder perspective taking in this setting. These findings are significant because they suggest ways to gauge and encourage the skill of stakeholder perspective taking among professional engineers working on real-world design challenges with societal implications.

Keywords: Perspective taking, User centred design, Early design phases, Design practice, Professional engineers

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