Today it is commonly known that the most effective place branding initiatives are those involving a wide range of place stakeholders. However, few empirical studies show how this can be carried out in practice and little is known about how residents experience participating in place branding initiatives. Design Thinking uses divergent and convergent thinking, creativity, visualization and prototyping to develop ideas and solutions. Inspired by participatory action research, the current study develops and evaluates a framework inspired by Design Thinking for how stakeholders can be involved in a place branding process and value the outcome of such an approach. Observations are complemented by qualitative questionnaires capturing the stakeholders’ perceptions and interviews with public officials. The study shows that Design Thinking facilitates an inclusive place branding process, as the framework developed, titled “The Inclusive Place Diamond”, encourages inclusion and strengthens the sense of meaning making at the same time as it reinforces a broad sense of ownership. Still, conflicting images complicate the process and some resistance towards losing power is observed. One of the key insights is that a process inspired by Design Thinking entails that the implementation of the place brand starts already when stakeholders are invited to the process and continues as a key feature of the evolving process.
- Företagsekonomi (50202)
- Design (60406)