Surprises are the benefits: Reframing in multidisciplinary design teams

Guido Stompff*, Frido Smulders, Lilian Henze

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    25 Citations (Scopus)


    This paper explores the social dimension of collaborative design from the perspective of Schön's reflective practice. An in-depth video protocol study was performed on the reflective practice in an experienced design team. It looks, in particular, at reframing: the process to find a new productive frame for subsequent activities. Reframing processes are amplified in a social context, requiring considerable time and effort on the part of design teams. Reframing has distinctive features that set it apart from other steps of reflective practice. Two iterative stages are discerned: sensemaking, to reconstruct prior operating frames; and future framing, to design a frame for future activities. Surprises incite reframing, and we argue that surprises are a source for team learning and innovation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)187-214
    Number of pages28
    JournalDesign Studies
    Publication statusPublished - 2016


    • collaborative design
    • design practice
    • framing
    • multidisciplinary design teams
    • reflective practice


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