Workplace problem solving within the design process

The story of Pekki table



This paper tells the story of creating the design table, Pekki - from the very first idea to the manufactured product. The story provides a background for the further conceptual analysis. A Finnish cabinetmaker Matti  revealed us his dream to make a table with distinctive lines. He agreed to be our partner in this study, and we documented the entire project. We shadowed Matti in his workshop where he explained what he was doing and verbalized his thoughts and actions. We wrote fields notes, interviewed Matti and discussed informally, we videotaped, took photos and collected Matti’s drawings and sketches. Along with the documentation, we tried to conceptually understand what happened during the process. Our preliminary intention was to examine how problem solving appeared in the process of manufacturing the prototype. It became evident that problem solving situations did not occur only in specific moments of the process, but the process itself was a “problem solving” situation. Moreover, the settings unveiled that creative and design processes were intertwined with problem solving. The aim of this paper is to shed light on and open the difficult ponderations between problem solving, creative and design processes by answering the following questions: 1. What is the cabinetmaker’s process of designing and creating a table? 2. How do the problem solving situations influence and what is the role of the jigs within the process? 3. How are the processes of problem solving, design and creative process intertwined? Based on our findings, we suggest that problem solving has a meditating role between creative and design processes.
Keywords: workplace problem solving, design process, creative process, cabinetmaker


Laia Saló i Nevado, University of Helsinki

Doctoral student, graduated in Pedagogy from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. Currently working for the city of Vantaa as a Counseling Lecturer, she also continues her PhD studies at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. Her research interests include problem solving, mathematics education and the use of mathematics at work.

Leila Pehkonen, University of Helsinki

Senior Lecturer in Education at the Faculty of Educational Sciences, University of Helsinki. She also has a primary school teacher qualification with specialization in mathematics education. Her current research interests include teaching and learning in higher education, mathematics education and teachers’ agency in vocational education.




Referera så här

Saló i Nevado, L., Pehkonen, L., & Salminen, M. (2020). Workplace problem solving within the design process: The story of Pekki table. Techne serien - Forskning i slöjdpedagogik och slöjdvetenskap, 27(1), 36–51. Hämtad från