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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.

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Disruptive innovation, by its very nature, is a social activity among a large diversity of collaborating actors. However, literature addressing social processes in innovation is scarce, especially on the micro-level of interactions between the innovating actors involved, the inter-subjective level. This paper focuses on closing this gap by investigating the social dimension of innovation. It first examines the literature looking for social processes described in some detail. It goes on to present two empirical studies that each investigated a different co-creational setting. One aimed to identify the basic social process between actors from NPD and manufacturing, whereas the other investigated the interaction process of idea development in a consultancy firm. The literature and the two studies helped conceptualize a framework of aspects representing the inter-subjective dimension of innovation. The paper concludes with ideas for future research which use the framework for more fundamental theorizing on the phenomenon of (disruptive) innovating.

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Purpose
– This paper aims to create a social constructivist perspective on collaborative architecture that is complementary to the rational‐analytic perspective as embodied in the “hard” project management tools.

Design/Methodology/approach
– Two theoretical perspectives from the field of design methodology, “design as co‐evolution”, and “design as a social process”, form the base for an integrated perspective of collaboration. This integrated perspective describes in detail the social process among multi functional actors involved in co‐creational processes. A third theoretical framework discusses the process of maturing conflicts and conflict prevention using the integrated perspective on collaboration. Data from two empirical studies are used to illustrate both perspectives. The first study used a protocol study approach and the second a grounded approach.

Findings
– This paper shows the similarities in design methodology and conflict literature by introducing a social constructivist perspective on collaborative architecture. Especially, the notion of cognitive errors as root cause of “conflictuous” situations becomes apparent. The paper describes in detail the role of perceptual differences that can make and break collaborative architecture.

Practical implications
– Based on these findings some hypothetical intervention strategies are proposed that collaborating actors can apply in order to prevent “conflictuous” situations to grow beyond control and even bend those situations towards innovations. Actors engaged in multi functional and multi actor creational processes might benefit from building a rudimentary mental model representing the world of the other function or other organization.

Originality/value
– The paper brings together the intra‐subjective and inter‐subjective level in the context of co‐creating (architectural) processes by combining two very different streams of literature, design methodology and maturing conflicts. In both streams one could identify a similar distinction between cognitive processes and social processes. Collaborative architecture without having social‐emotional conflicts is realized by explicating implicitly held knowledge, understandings and perceptions. An individual cognitive effort as well as a social‐interactive effort is needed in which actors explicitly discuss differences in perception before these perceptions evolve into misleading truths. As a basis for such synchronizing discussions the actors need to have some sort of rudimentary understanding of each other's thought world and trust in each other's professionalism and factuality. Thus, preventing conflicts is not about having more communication, but about different communication!

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This paper discusses the connection between team mental models (TMM) in creative teams and in operational teams. It focuses on the transition from explorative design activities to exploitative manufacturing activities and discusses the notion of TMM as means and ends to arrive at volume production of the new product. In reaction to the introductory paper four comments are made: (1) a specific transition model should be added, which contains knowledge, abilities and attitudes that are prerequisite to boundary spanning team activities, (2) an external party (e.g. client, user) with a distinct mental model should be included in the research setup, (3) the division of sub-mental models should be conceptualized at a more general level in order to form a base for a coherent ontology of TMM, and (4) we need to be realistic about the value of the notion TMM, as their main purpose is to aid research and communication about research.

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This paper describes part of the results of a research project that focuses on the interface between new product development (NPD) and production. The following question is addressed: ‘What is the influence of the inherent differences in learning styles within NPD and within Production on the interactions between the respective participants?’ The dominant learning style in NPD‐processes is conceptual. Within production processes an operational learning style is dominant. Clashes occur when the learning style in‐use is opposite to the learning style required. For efficient interactions participants must be able to switch from one style to another depending on the issue at hand. Making the different learning styles explicit and learn people to change form one style to another might help. However, interactions between NPD and production frequently have the character of an intervention from one process to another. For interventions to be successful, the interventionist needs to have enough empathic insight in the character of the other process and in the learning behavior of its participants. Providing internships on both sides together with adequate in‐house training programmes might support the development of empathic abilities like mutual understanding and respect.

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We explored two questions in two empirical studies. In the first study we wanted to find out whether we could describe the interactions between New Product Development (NPD) and Operations by using a generic theory of change management and interventions. In the second study we explored such interventions during implementation and wanted to find out to what extent these interventions followed the theories of change. Some of the interactions are interventions from NPD to Operations in order to change the work of Operations. We found that these interventions and intended changes fit the theories of change management quite well. This means that the change literature gives good insights into the causes of success and failure of these interventions and could mean that, in some respect, we can apply the knowledge of these theories of change management and interventions to the field of NPD. This insight provides a new and additional perspective: NPD to be seen as a process that uses interventions to facilitate, or provoke, change within operational processes. We see too much attention paid to the project management methods and ‘hard’ theories, for example rationality, control, hierarchy, planning, predicting and prescribing. There is good reason to add the more ‘soft’ theories of change to NPD practice, with extra and explicit attention to learning, trial and error, monitoring, tell and sell, empathy, and co‐operation. NPD practitioners are also very much focused on the product and less (or not at all) on the actual changes that have to take place in production (Operations) related to the implementation of these processes. For successful implementation interventions need to be tuned towards the receiver. The interventionist (i.e. NPD practitioners) must be aware that there is a range of choice if different intervention strategies in order to tune their intervention efforts more effectively towards the receiver. In order to be able to do this, NPD practitioners, as well as the people from Operations, need to become skilled in using a generic theory of intervention and change, such as the one described in this paper, during their interactions.

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This paper describes and illustrates different configurations of the interface between new product development and production processes, including both intra–firm and inter–firm interfaces. These configurations are partly based on a process view of product innovation and partly on a structural view of product innovation. In addition to this typology of interfaces some integration mechanisms are described. The typology will serve as a basis for further research aimed at identifying consistent configurations of the different types of integration mechanisms that are available for industry to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of product innovation processes.

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