Computer Laboratory

Technical reports

Designing knowledge: An interdisciplinary experiment in research infrastructure for shared description

Alan F. Blackwell

April 2006, 18 pages


The report presents the experimental development, evaluation and refinement of a method for doing adventurous design work, in contexts where academics must work in collaboration with corporate and public policy strategists and researchers. The intention has been to do applied social science, in which a reflective research process has resulted in a “new social form”, as expressed in the title of the research grant that funded the project. The objective in doing so is not simply to produce new theories, or to enjoy interdisciplinary encounters (although both of those have been side effects of this work). My purpose in doing the work and writing this report is purely instrumental – working as a technologist among social scientists, the outcome described in this report is intended for adoption as a kind of social technology. I have given this product a name: the “Blackwell-Leach Process” for interdisciplinary design. The Blackwell-Leach process has since been applied and proven useful in several novel situations, and I believe is now sufficiently mature to justify publication of the reports that describe both the process and its development.

Full text

PDF (0.7 MB)

BibTeX record

  author =	 {Blackwell, Alan F.},
  title = 	 {{Designing knowledge: An interdisciplinary experiment in
         	   research infrastructure for shared description}},
  year = 	 2006,
  month = 	 apr,
  url = 	 {},
  institution =  {University of Cambridge, Computer Laboratory},
  number = 	 {UCAM-CL-TR-664}