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Activity theory

  1. Germ cell model

    Germ cell model

    Germ cell model is a representation of a contradiction that is at the forefront of activity development. It features the dialectical reason why development is not advancing further as expected, and a possible path to overcome the barriers. Models are rather ambivalent in the way they represent contradictions, since they may not solve the contradiction. There […] - Jan 27, 2021
  2. Formative Intervention

    Formative Intervention

    Formative Intervention is a method for studying concept formation inside organizations in moments of turmoil, confusion, or stagnation (Engeström, 2011). The interventionist researcher identifies the contradictions hindering organization development and presents them for discussion with the research participants. Typically, the researcher brings theoretical concepts from Cultural Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) to explain and analyze these […] - Jan 27, 2021
  3. Design and other types of thinking

    Design and other types of thinking

    Design and other types of thinking (2020) was a workshop offered in UTFPR teaching seminars. Design thinking is a contemporary approach to innovation, entrepreneurship, project development, and education that makes designers’ thinking accessible to professionals in other areas. While it has drawn attention to creative processes typical of design, this approach has overshadowed the thoughts […] - Apr 27, 2020
  4. What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research?

    What is a contradiction and why it is relevant to design research?

    Design research is increasingly concerned with being part of change processes in everyday life, in communities, in organizations, and in large-scale sociotechnical systems. Despite the growing interest, the field is not prepared to deal with this topic. The predominant theories in design research were crafted to understand individuals interacting with products, or groups of people […] - Apr 21, 2020
  5. Creativity


    30 hours – Graphic Design — UTFPR The course is based on two theories: Cultural-Historical Theory of Creativity (Vygotsky) and Socio-Spatial Theory of Creativity (Lefebvre). These are presented in the following videos. Students are at their first semester, still realizing what they have gotten into. The course aims at exciting them with the creative possibilities […] - Mar 28, 2020
  6. Change Laboratory

    Change Laboratory

    Change Laboratory is a method developed by CRADLE to help organizations change routines, deal with conflicts, and create new ideas through a participatory approach. The method consists of three different moments: 1) presenting contradictions found through ethnographic research in the organization; 2) analyzing the systemic nature of these contradictions through organizational models; 3) generating new […] - Nov 1, 2018
  7. Expansive Play

    Expansive Play

    I’m developing further the Lego Serious Play method to support Expansive Design, in particular, to represent tough contradictions in a humorous style. This is useful when people avoid talking about contradictions openly or deny their existence. The pretext of play enables critical voices and radical alternatives to emerge. - Oct 31, 2018
  8. Expansive Design and Learning in a Software Studio

    Expansive Design and Learning in a Software Studio

    Post-doctoral research project in progress at Post-Graduate Program in Informatics at PUCPR. Software studio is a pedagogical approach for learning while doing it in practice Interaction Design (CULÉN et al, 2014; BINDER et al, 2009; REIMER, 2003) as well as Software Engineering (HAZZAN, 2002; KUHN, 1998; TOMAYKO, 1996; TOMAYKO, 1991). Inspired by the way architects […] - Oct 31, 2018
  9. Organizational Learning in Open Innovation Ecossystems

    Organizational Learning in Open Innovation Ecossystems

    Open Innovation inspire big companies to participate in entrepreneurial ecosystems, in the hope of promoting valuable organizational learning. Individual employees can learn together with individual entrepreneurs who are struggling to find a working business model, however, this learning might not be absorbed by the company. One of the reasons for that is the lack of […] - Oct 30, 2018
  10. Design ethnography with activity theory

    Design ethnography with activity theory

    Design ethnography is a field study method which aims at uncovering user needs and innovation opportunities. Through this method, anthropologists can help understand the context, bringing up semantic, emotional, and social issues that may represent innovation opportunities. However, most design ethnographies are not carried out by trained anthropologists. Design ethnography is typically conducted by designers themselves, […] - Oct 28, 2016
  11. Expanding the design object

    Expanding the design object

    In the first lecture of my Design Thinking course, I gave a historical perspective on the evolution of the design object. According to my thesis work, the object of design expanded in the last century from complex entities to emergent performances, such as experiences, interactions and business. The characteristics of this object are: It includes the user behavior, as […] - Sep 16, 2016
  12. The social production of design space

    The social production of design space

    Abstract: The production of design space refers to the activity of an individual or a group of individuals considering alternatives and possibilities for a design brief. Design studies often consider constraints to be a major determinant of design space, yet this paper introduces the notion of contradiction to underscore a dialectical determination of design space. The […] - May 2, 2016
  13. Educational Game Design

    Educational Game Design

    Educational Game Design is a 45 hours graduate course from the Design program of Federal University of Paraná (UFPR). The course was delivered in collaboration with prof. Andre Battaiola. The syllabus includes readings on Game Design and Cultural Historical Activity Theory. The initial classes reproduced some experiments with entertainment and educational games. The Silent Game […] - Apr 28, 2016
  14. The Transformative Potential of Game Spatiality in Service Design

    The Transformative Potential of Game Spatiality in Service Design

    Background: Services have tangible and intangible aspects. Services are organized as a system of conceptual ideas (space of possibilities) and are enacted through social and physical arrangements (possibilities of space). Games are employed in service design to expand the space of possibilities with new insights; however, the possibilities of space are sometimes not recognized, experienced, […] - Mar 4, 2016
  15. PhD thesis - Expansive design: designing with contradictions

    PhD thesis – Expansive design: designing with contradictions

    Quick intro: What is expansive design? Quick graphics: Sketching an expansive design definition Abstract: This thesis looks at the practice of design as it emerges in architectural design and service design. The lens adopted considers design both as an activity as well as a space full of contradictions, which are accumulated tensions. Design activity is […] - Dec 14, 2015
  16. The collaboration for use value

    The collaboration for use value

    The basic assumption of capitalism that companies make money from valuable products is being challenged by recent market changes. Products are no longer considered valuable only for sales’ performance. They must perform well after the sales, i.e. in use, otherwise sales may drop. The use value (a.k.a. value in use) corresponds to the product applications found […] - Jun 10, 2015
  17. The competition for exchange value

    The competition for exchange value

    Value is an expected outcome or the effective outcome of using an object. If the object is useful, the value should be higher, however, that is not the case in a capitalist economy. If many people possess the object and are willing to exchange it, the value is lower, no matter how useful the object […] - May 5, 2015
  18. Double stimulation experiments

    Double stimulation experiments

    For my PhD research, I had to do some experiments in design education. Design education is characterized by a learning-by-doing approach when the learner is pushed to take the lead of experimentation. This represents a problem for design educators who also want to test the research hypothesis within teaching activities since it is not easy […] - Dec 20, 2014
  19. Expanding the representation of user activities

    Expanding the representation of user activities

    Abstract: Space is often designed based on the representations of user activities (i.e. lists, organograms or flowcharts) that streamline user activities in stepwise, oversimplified, representations that may leave insufficient room for future activity development. However, design can anticipate activity development if users are able to represent their own activities while participating in the design process. […] - Jul 15, 2014
  20. Contradictions in the design space

    Contradictions in the design space

    Abstract: The design space is a concept often used to encompass all possible designs for a given brief, impossible to be determined, but passive of manipulation by creative designers. The concept as such cannot prevent deterministic accounts of design activity. With the aim of overcoming determinism, this concept is reconsidered beyond the cognitive realm, as […] - Feb 17, 2014
  21. Grounding the flying triangle: activity theory and the production of space

    Grounding the flying triangle: activity theory and the production of space

    Abstract: Space is a fundamental issue in organizing yet remains unexplored by cultural historical activity theory. The growing interest for this theory in organization studies asks for reflecting on the role of space in activity. The activity system model — a triangle-shaped diagram that is often used to study organizations within this theory — is […] - Feb 14, 2014
  22. The validity of user’s activity representation

    The validity of user’s activity representation

    Last week I attended a conference in Milan about visualizations in Architecture. The conference showcased many objective ways to represent the user perception of space before it is built: maps, simulations, calculations, scatterplots, etc. The represented perceptions ranged from confort to privacy. My own presentation raised the issue of validity of such representations, considering the […] - Oct 7, 2013
  23. Technology Appropriation Scale

    Technology Appropriation Scale

    During my Masters I stumbled upon the paper [PDF] from the Abaporu Project, a project that studied mobile technology in Brazil. Instead of a traditional adoption study based on the chart above, the authors decided to go from the other way around. They didn’t tried to track to what extent a specific (foreign) technology was […] - Jun 27, 2012
  24. Using Activity Theory to situate Design Thinking

    Using Activity Theory to situate Design Thinking

    During my last trip to Brazil, together with Andre Malheiro, I conducted a Design Thinking workshop at Rede Globo, the producer of the famous Brazilian soap operas. I’ve been experimenting using Activity Theory as a framework for Design Thinking in these kind of workshops for a while, but after this, I got an important insight: […] - Oct 31, 2011