Co-design: Paradoxical Practice to Create Knowledge for Intentional Change

Svenja Tams

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


Despite considerable research examining collaborative responses to social and environmental issues, we know little about knowledge co-creation in these settings. The paper conceptualizes knowledge co-creation on social and environmental problems as an intentional practice of diverse participants generating, communicating and interweaving their knowing-in-practice. A ‘paradox of practice’ arises from the potential gap between the knowledge constituted within interventions and participants’ taken-for-granted everyday knowing about the practice worlds that produce social and environmental problems. Building on Heidegger’s existential ontology, we argue that interventions which use material things as both objects and tools facilitate the disclosing and interweaving of people’s different sites of knowing. The paper illustrates this argument with data from a study, asking people to co-design behaviour change campaigns on a waste-related sustainability problem. Observations illustrate the ways by which using, making and talking with material things enables participants to share and embody their taken-for-granted, everyday knowing-in-practice about the issue at hand. The paper concludes with implications of this performative perspective of knowledge for organizational interventions on complex societal problems.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016
Event8th International Symposium on Process Organization Studies: “Dualities, dialectics and paradoxes in organizational life” - Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel, Corfu, Greece
Duration: 16 Jun 201618 Jun 2016


Conference8th International Symposium on Process Organization Studies
Abbreviated titlePROS
Internet address


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