Tangible Business Interviews

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    Imagine that, as part of an interview with business experts, you ask them to 'build' their understanding of organisation, business relations, value network, market position, etc. using physical materials like building bricks, toy trains or rolling marbles. Besides being fun, this provides several advantages over 'dry' conversation: Richness in detail, playful 'talking with hands', embodied empathy with partners, concrete thought experiments. I will demonstrate four techniques that employ tangible material to challenge interviewees to explain in depth their company's business model and even to further develop their own understanding of it. As a research method, tangible modelling can enhance interviews (Chap. 6), which aim to achieve deep knowledge of how the interviewees understand their situation. In particular, tangible business modelling supports focus group interviews, where participants investigate a shared topic. However, tangible business modelling also lends itself to action research endeavours. Tangible business modelling shows its strength in innovation workshops (Chap. 7) in which researchers engage companies in business model renewal, organisational change or business-relation development. In this chapter I will explain which types of research data this method provides and which research results they generate. Also, I will exemplify which changes the introduction of tangible materials into business interviews may stimulate in the business organisation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationCollaborative Research Design : Working with Business for Meaningful Findings
    EditorsPer Vagn Freytag, Louise Young
    Place of PublicationSingapore
    Publication date2018
    ISBN (Print)9789811050060
    ISBN (Electronic)9789811050084
    Publication statusPublished - 2018


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