Philosophy at work: postphenomenology as a generative lens in design research and practice

Sander van der Zwan*, Maarten Smith, Jelle Bruineberg, Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review

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We investigate the use of five postphenomenological concepts by bringing them to design practice and using them as a "generative lens" in design research. The use of these concepts in design research creates tension between the general and the particular. In a constructive design research process, we resolve this tension. We follow two complementary lines of inquiry: first, we design a ritual to support a postphenomenological analysis of the workplace. We discuss insights regarding ordering and formulation of the concepts, selecting a technological intermediary and assessing technologies. In the second, we use postphenomenology as a generative lens in designing the ritual. We discuss the iterative process in which the designer shapes specific uses by proposing different designs and reflecting on them using postphenomenological concepts. These reflections point to a responsibility of the designer to incorporate ways of being, ways of knowing and values on top of specific uses and utility.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSynergy - DRS International Conference 2020
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020
Externally publishedYes
EventDesign Research Society (2020): Synergy - Brisbane, Australia
Duration: 11 Aug 202014 Aug 2020

Publication series

NameDRS2020 Research Papers
PublisherDesign Research Society
ISSN (Electronic)2398-3132


ConferenceDesign Research Society (2020)
Abbreviated titleDRS2020


  • postphenomenology
  • design research
  • design practice
  • generative lens


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