Developing an Understanding of Storytelling at the Design Pitch: Relating Approach to Impact

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This research study builds an understanding of the relationship between storytelling approaches and their impacts at a design pitch, where concepts are presented to external clients. Storytelling is an integral part of design, with evidence of storytelling techniques found throughout the design process: from the use of digital media such as videos and animation during design pitches, to the use of personas and scenarios during research and evaluative phases. In building this understanding, a literature review was conducted to explore storytelling from a broad societal perspective and more specific organisational and design perspectives. A series of semi-structured interviews were conducted with employees from Unilever’s Household Care and Laundry departments, and Accenture’s Innovation Centre. Discussion centred on identifying storytelling approaches used by designers when pitching product and service concepts, and their relationships to various impacts, with student projects (at Unilever) and consultancy work (for Accenture) focusing the interviews. Thematic analysis was employed to establish themes in approach, building a framework of relationships with their determined impacts. The study’s contribution to knowledge is the presentation of a framework, entitled ‘Design Pitch Storytelling: The Impact-Approach Framework’. It builds on the current understanding of storytelling in design theory by identifying the important role that storytelling approaches play in the presentation of design concepts whilst offering insights into how designers use storytelling approaches in a design pitch. It serves as a descriptive tool offering an alternative viewpoint of the cases that may have a wider relevance to comparable large scale, internationally facing organisations and designers involved in similar design projects. In terms of an analytical process, this research study contributes further original knowledge in that it can be replicated to better understand existing working relationships between organisations and designers working on design projects in different contexts.
Original languageEnglish
  • Smith, Neil, Supervisor
  • Bohemia, Erik, Supervisor, External person
  • Stevens, John, Supervisor
  • Yee, Joyce Sheau Roei, Supervisor
Publication statusSubmitted - 1 Jul 2014


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