A Collaborative Tool for Multidisciplinary Stakeholders

Social Innovation | Social design, entrepreneurship, design theories

Stakeholder: Brabant Outcome Fund (BOF)

Team: Jing-cai Liu,  Sacha Prudon, Nick Voskuil


The main challenge of this project was to design a tool that can be used by the Brabant Outcomes Fund (BOF). They are a social investment fund dedicated to guiding the growth of several different startups in the social domain. The BOF is an organization providing a connection in shared beliefs and values between investors and social ventures. Often, the stakeholders have completely different disciplines and backgrounds which result in challenges concerning collaboration. Consequently, we see the opportunity to design for the enhancement of initiating transdisciplinary collaboration [1] within the BOF organization.

Iterative designs

Among techniques such as sketching, mapping, and regular discussion in order to communicate, we did an embodied sketching [2] session to explore our meaning of collaboration. Through this technique, we experienced what could be valuable elements in transdisciplinary collaboration within a transformative practice [3]. The iterative designs of the collaboration tool arose from this embodied experience. We want to accomplish a similar goal by connecting stakeholders and enhance engagement by embodied “doing” processes. With these tools, we strive to stimulate a bodily and sensing approach with the intention to let stakeholders open up, learn, and find meaning through interaction in the physical.

Exploration with a square board with nails along the edges. Each stakeholder could write down their needs and skills and use colored wires to connect these on the board. Through using this, each stakeholder could find each other's skills and interested in withing a collaboration project. Also, the embodied sketch allows collaborators to interact and engage in a fun way to connect to one another.

The second iteration is improved with a round shape. This version could be used with either wire, as previously done, or by drawing lines with markers on paper. A test is done with a group of participants who don't know each other and a fictional project is set for the group. This first user test sparked several interesting insights concerning the use and value of our concept. The participants noted that they felt invited and free to speak about their possible contribution to this fictive project. It seems that the setting of the test and the use of the tool sparked quite a lively conversation.

In the final design, another layer is added to this previous concept. The added layer enabling meta-analyses is transparent and enables stakeholders to write on it with markers above the layer with the connection wire connections. This layer aims to make the discussed topics concreter. Stakeholders could draw and place a concrete plan on top.


The final design, ROUNDTABLE, is the result of several iterations, feedback sessions, and user tests. Reflecting back on the design question, how can we catalyze the initiation of collaboration among transdisciplinary stakeholders of the BOF, we can carefully conclude that the current prototype seems to serve the purpose of kickstarting collaboration and creating a sense of mutual trust and respect. At the same time, we believe there are strides to be made in terms of sense-making by participants, explorations in form and interaction, and the practical properties of the tool. This project can serve as an initial step for future work in the realms of embodied interaction and sense-making between stakeholders, and further development of the proposed prototype and related meanings attached to it by users.


1. Irwin, T., Tonkinwise, C., & Kossoff, G. (2015). Transition design: An educational framework for advancing the study and design of sustainable transitions. Cuadernos del Centro de Estudios en Diseño y Comunicación Nº105, 23, 31-65.
2. Márquez Segura, E., Turmo Vidal, L., Rostami, A., & Waern, A. (2016, May). Embodied sketching. In Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 6014-6027).
3. Hummels, C., Trotto, A., Peeters, J., Levy, P., Alves Lino, J., & Klooster, S. (2018). Design research and innovation framework for transformative practices.
4. Mertens, D. M. (2010). Philosophy in mixed methods teaching: The transformative paradigm as illustration. International Journal of Multiple Research Approaches, 4(1), 9–18. doi:10.5172/mra.2010.4.1.009
5. Norris, C. (2002). Deconstruction: Theory and practice. Presbyterian Publishing Corp.