Small manufacturing firms often fail to reap the benefits of good design practices. This study investigates how the involvement of external designers influences the evolution of product design processes in small manufacturing firms. Qualitative and quantitative process research methods were used to study 352 events in five joint product development projects. The findings show how these processes iterated between divergence and convergence and between goal setting and idea development. Moreover, higher involvement of external designers was associated with more frequent iterations. The paper discusses the implications of these findings for theory on design processes and for design practice.
Berends, J. J., Reymen, I. M. M. J., Stultiens, R. G. L., & Peutz, M. M. V. (2011). External designers in product design processes of small manufacturing firms. Design Studies, 32(1), 86-108. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.destud.2010.06.001