Conference article

Fostering a sustained design capability in non-design-intensive organizations: a knowledge transfer perspective

Filipe Lima
Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Via Durando 38/A – 20158 Milan, Italy

Daniela Sangiorgi
Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano, Via Durando 38/A – 20158 Milan, Italy

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Published in: ServDes2018. Service Design Proof of Concept, Proceedings of the ServDes.2018 Conference, 18-20 June, Milano, Italy

Linköping Electronic Conference Proceedings 150:5, p. 49-61

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Published: 2018-07-05

ISBN: 978-91-7685-237-8

ISSN: 1650-3686 (print), 1650-3740 (online)


Service designers have been increasingly involved in the transmission of design knowledge to enable non-professional designers to apply design skills and approaches in their work. However, the understanding of the factors that favor the effective transmission of design knowledge is limited, making the goal to achieve a sustainable capability in organizations a challenge. In this paper, the authors adopt a knowledge transfer lens to identify the key determinants in the transference of knowledge in organizations and conduct a preliminary review of how they have been addressed in design research literature. This review revealed an unbalanced interpretation with limited consideration of the knowledge senders’ characteristics and contextual factors affecting the dissemination of design knowledge. The paper, therefore, concludes with the proposal of an initial model where the four groups of determinants identified in the knowledge transfer literature (knowledge, receivers, senders, and context) could constitute the core elements for studying this phenomenon


service design, design capabilities, design knowledge, knowledge transfer


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