Serendipity as a Catalyst. Knowledge Generation in Interdisciplinary Research

Riikka Townsend, Jussi Mikkonen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articleScientificpeer-review

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Our paper discusses the design- led processes in a project starting as multidisciplinary, focusing on three serendipitous cases that influenced the outcomes and the textile- design- research path taken in the overall project. The work presented here revolved around semiconductive cotton, suitable for textile design, and examines it from the design team perspective. This paper identifies and discusses three cases, as they had considerable weight on the project path. In order to understand these cases, we evaluated them based on a model for a serendipitous experience. The follow- ups to the serendipitous connections gave empowerment to the design research team, increasing their ownership of the research results. Relaxing boundaries between disciplines and varying routines have been highly relevant factors in the new knowledge generation. Ability to perform a consented and significant diversion to the research path was crucial for reacting to the serendipitous discovery and establishing the research space of the interdisciplinary project.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1853-1869
Number of pages17
JournalDesign Journal
Issue numbersup1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventInternational European Academy of Design Conference: Running with Scissors - University of Dundee, Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: 10 Apr 201912 Apr 2019
Conference number: 12


  • Serendipity
  • interdisciplinary
  • textile design research
  • empowerment
  • change


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