Published by Taylor & Francis
Print ISSN: 1571-0882
Design in many settings is an inherently collective and creative undertaking, with phenomena of emergence at the heart of the activity. Cognitive accounts of emergence in the context of design have not taken its collective nature into account. At the same time accounts of collective emergence do not recognize certain salient attributes of design, including the importance of visual thinking and various media for external representation. With reference to two distinct theories of emergence, Oxman's account of design emergence in terms of visual cognition, and Sawyer's account of collaborative emergence in conversation and performance, this paper reports results from a study of a high-performing, technologically mediated concurrent design practice. Participant observation, interviews, and video interaction analysis were used to render the creative process of engineering design in fine-grained detail. The resulting insights support aspects of both theories in that creative activity appears to proceed substantially through modalities of visual cognition, while collaborative products are arrived at through an essentially collective process involving multiple participants and unpredictable developments. The combined view presents a richer picture than either theory alone.
This article compares participatory workshops with novel mixed-reality tabletop tools in three different urban projects. It discusses differences of site and project, the role of representations, and the role of the participating stakeholders as factors that are crucial in shaping the space for design ideas. The article then draws conclusions as to the salient aspects of creative, explorative and imaginative exploration.
The successful implementation of brand values and emotional concepts into physical products is critical in the design process of branded products and can be problematic when multidisciplinary project teams come from different backgrounds. This paper argues that lack of communication between product designers and engineering designers causes additional process iterations to assure that the initially intended brand values and emotional responses are preserved in the final product. This paper investigates the use of Annotations, Word Mappings and Multiple-Domain Matrices as three potential approaches to support the communication between product designers and engineering designers. The results of an evaluation study show the level of acceptability of these approaches among product designers, engineering designers and academics depending on the purpose of its use, the familiarity of users with the representation and the stage of the design process.
Participants in design processes make an effort to come up with solutions that will be deemed acceptable, while accomplishing to ‘think out of the box’. Thinking ‘outside the box’ is often announced as a challenge to and for design teams. ‘The box’ is a metaphor often used in creative processes, and in organisational practices, as a term for rules and regulations, everyday routines and tacit knowledge of ‘how things usually are’ and ‘what we know about the world’. Such a challenge is meant to encourage participants to approach a situation with an open mind, challenge the most basic assumptions and be willing to do things differently. Basically, something different is being called for. Studies have shown that it is striking, how much the participants orient to actually ‘fit’ the box, even when asked to develop it. This paper shows how participants in design processes are ‘sizing up the box’, while participating in meetings or workshops in order to develop a design. They identify key stakeholders of the designated design project; they share their own expectations of these key stakeholders' possible perceptions, discuss the success criteria and negotiate the values that are to govern the design team in the development process.
An electronic notice board installed in a local shop in a suburban community served as a step towards improving community communication, but also as a tool for design researchers to better understand the mechanisms of place-based communication and how it might develop with ubiquitous technology.
Dentists regularly employ their hands in explaining what they see to the patient. The project  
When configuring digital controllers in the refrigeration plants of supermarkets, service  
Since the event of participatory design in the work democracy projects of the 1970’s and 1980’s in Scandinavia, computing technology and people’s engagement with it have undergone fundamental changes. Although participatory design continues to be a precondition for designing computing that aligns with human practices, the motivations to engage in participatory design have changed, and the new era requires formats that are different from the original ones. Through the analysis of three case studies this paper seeks to explain why participatory design must be brought to bear on the field of ubiquitous computing, and how this challenges the original participatory design thinking. In particular we will argue that more casual, exploratory formats of engagement with people are required, and rather than planning the all-encompassing systems development project, participatory design needs to move towards iterative, experimental design explorations to provide necessary understanding of today’s complex contexts and practices. We argue that there does not need to be a discrepancy between the ideals of empowering people with new technology, and the understanding of customer value in a business perspective.
Co-creation as a concept has won terrain over the past 10 years. In practice as well as in literature, co-creation is climbing the agenda in relation to contemporary opportunities and challenges within management, organisation design and change initiatives. This paper aims to build an overview of the literature on co-creation to explore what the existing literature relates to and indeed to pinpoint if any patterns or streams can be identified. The paper illustrates how the use of the concept of co-creation suggests a necessity for focusing further on specific co-creation-related issues and challenges of significance to business and society. The paper highlights new co-creation-related issues and challenges. Further, the paper crystallises an emerging design trajectory in theory and practice.
Bringing designers together as successful design teams is investigated in the context of the science of complex systems. The relational structure inherent in design defines multilevel multidimensional networks, which can represent part-whole hierarchies in design. Design is presented as an iterative top-down and bottom-up process that induces the emergence of desirable properties.This involves the construction and instantiation of multilevel representations. The implications of this are discussed for computer supported collaborative design, and how interaction structures can be designed to support design collaboration. The paper is aimed at a general reader and is self-contained.
This paper seeks to address different ways of conceptualising communication - a mechanistic and a systemic view. The views are considered complementary rather than exclusionary. A meta-model of how communication in engineering design can be conceptualised to analyse communication issues in industrial practice is proposed. The model combines an information-centred view reflecting the exchange of information with interactional and situational aspects. It is intended to provide the backbone of an audit method with which the current ('as-is' ) as well as the desired ('to be') communication situation in a company can be diagnosed. The conceptual meta-model for communication in engineering design presented here is part of a wider research project that aims at assessing the current and the desired communication situation in design teams by raising awareness and providing a platform for reflection.
Design is an inherently complex activity. Design thinking is cognitively complex and design practice is contextually complex. This has implications for university-level design education which has traditionally displayed clear distinctions between the full-time and part-time undergraduate sectors, particularly in their teaching and learning strategies. However, a number of pressures and trends are evident which suggest that these two sectors are moving closer together. One of the drivers in this phenomenon is the need for students to be exposed to realistic levels of design complexity. This paper examines complexity in design and draws some significant parallels between modern design practice in general and the production of a new undergraduate course at the Open University. Both are used to illuminate design complexity. The paper suggests that some of the tools, techniques and approaches of part-time, undergraduate, distance design education might usefully be exploited in more traditional, full-time course models.
Focus groups have traditionally been used in market and design research to obtain group reactions to product concepts. In this article we outline a simple methodological extension to this format, involving a further stage of concept re-design in smaller subgroups facilitated by a professional designer. The method was developed in the context of working with groups of older people on concepts addressing memory, identity and social communication. It is illustrated with reference to the re-design of two seeded concepts and feedback from participants themselves on the experience of taking part.
Over the last few decades there has been a growing interest in the concept of emergence in design research. Despite this interest, the meaning and scope of emergence in design is not clear. Indeed, there are two different views of emergence in design literature, representing different types of theories about design. The first is focused on individual cognition or perception, and the second is focused on social aspects of design activity. This paper grapples with the question of how we can reconcile the two perspectives in a theory of design as an emergent phenomenon. More specifically, the paper builds a model of design as a distributed process that links together cognitive and social dimensions of design activity, and uses this model in order to elucidate the meaning and role of emergence in design. Overall, the paper explicates the relation between emergence, complexity and coordination as a vehicle for linking individual and social conceptions of design.
Over the last decade, an array of policy interventions relating to children, young people and education in the UK have positioned pupil participation in the (re)design of school environments as a key imperative. Indeed, pupil participation is an explicit, core ideal of major, ongoing school (re)construction and (re)design programmes in the UK such as Building Schools for the Future, Academy schools, and Primary Capital Funding. The aim of this paper is to juxtapose the ideals of participation as expressed in national policy statements, via-à-vis the ways in which participation in these contexts is being done (or not) in practice. To this end, the paper presents findings from in-depth interviews with Local Authority officers responsible for the implementation of policies relating to school (re)building and (re)design in diverse localities. These interviews show how the idea(l) of pupil participation may, in practice, be foreclosed by contingencies, budgets, issues, debates, personalities and events at grassroots level. The paper will suggest that national policy-making regarding participation should be better grounded in the complex and diverse realities of the (re)design of school environments in practice
The increasing interest in engaging users and other partners in collaborative design has led to an increase in the number of methods for organising collaboration. The aim of these methods is to support collaborative explorations of future opportunities in inspiring atmospheres. In this discourse, design games have become a popular concept that has been widely adopted to describe various design activities, which at first glance do not necessarily share many qualities. This paper aims to provide further understanding about the purposes that design games serve in codesign. The main contribution of the paper is the introduction of a play framework that highlights three perspectives on how design games appear to different people experiencing them: as a tool, as a mindset and as a structure. To clarify the components of design games, the paper reflects on the relations between design and games, the two parts of the concept ‘design games’, and two further qualities embedded in games: play and performance.
Policy participation requires a democratic decision-making process, though typical co-design approaches focus more on immersing participants in the design process and facilitating creative thinking. This research proposes a new concept of policy co-design workshops to ensure both policy and co-design values. The feasibility and acceptability of policy ideas were found to be key requirements in policy co-design. The requirements were designed to be fulfilled through a gamified policy co-design workshop – Policy Puzzle Game – with a jigsaw puzzle-style toolkit and process. The game was used in real policy development by a municipal government with participating citizens, activists, civil servant s, and design thinking facilitators. The major findings from post-workshop interviews include insights on the engagement process of the game, the unique roles of different stakeholder groups, and their contributions to making policy ideas feasible and acceptable. Based on the findings, possibilities for further application of the game and the significance of the research are discussed.
The four gaps between SSEs the global south and potential funders.
The outcome from the collaborative session to define the tech mediator's role.
The tech mediator collective's role realised.
Despite much criticism, global digital platforms hold some promise for small-scale entrepreneurs (SSEs) in the global south. However, they are often excluded from direct participation in global initiatives, such as crowdfunding. Besides socio-cultural disparities, accessibility and adoption issues, technology usage and integration present a major challenge. To bridge those gaps we propose a workable model consisting of a local tech mediator operating on a digital platform connecting local SSE to global digital services. We have engaged a group of informal settlement SSE in Windhoek, Namibia to jointly conceptualise the roles, tasks and responsibilities of a local tech mediator, concurrently with technical skills training as well as the development of an international crowdfunding campaign. We assert that the jointly developed concepts of a local instantiation of the model as well as the co-design process have enabled us to create model, which would allow the utilisation of global digital platforms for SSEs in the global south.
New ideas in organisations are often developed during business meetings and are thus dependent on the local setting and the participants’ abilities to collaboratively ideate turn by turn. Using ethnomethodology and multimodal conversation analysis as its methodological and theoretical framework, this article shows how idea development can be accomplished through the co-construction of a co-imagined space that functions as a resource for participants. This co-constructed imagination space is a theoretical construct which in oriented-to details can be accomplished through (1) organisation of turn-taking during discussions, (2) embodied orientations, and (3) use of local material structures and the environment.
In June 2012, the French car company Renault turned Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, a town on the outskirts of Paris, into a test and demonstration laboratory. The company introduced a fleet of 50 electric cars as part of a car-sharing system without fixed stations called Twizy Way. This scheme was a component of the manufacturer’s development strategy for the electric car market. This paper analyses this initiative in order to account for an experimental mode of industrial innovation. Characterised by the use of sociotechnical instruments in order to explore social and technical uncertainties and produce public demonstrations, this experimental mode is based on various kinds of experiments. Building on Science and Technology Studies and Actor Network Theory, this paper discusses two of them, which are in the same time two propositions for the organisation of codesign: a planned field test designed by Renault; and the collection of inquiries that resulted from the extension of the number of experimenters. These descriptions point to the analytical interest of the study of experimental trajectories in public and private interventions related to industrial projects, particularly in situations where the scope of the involved actors is not pre-given.
There is a growing interest in designing products and interactions across cultures. In this paper, we report on our attempts to use in-situ making and evaluation to facilitate a short co-design process with outside designers in an ethnic and rural community. We found that rapid prototyping in the local context provided a mechanism to quickly engage designers with locals in informing iterative design refinement. Our research suggests that using in-situ making interlaced with evaluation is a feasible approach to drive designers to immerse, exchange and design within a cultural different context in the early stage of design exploration. We found that the rapid nature of our process makes it more suited for cultural product design led by designers than cross-cultural design.
Interdisciplinary research across the sciences and creative practice offers potential to explore new areas of knowledge previously hidden between disciplines. However, diverging epistemology and expectations make collaboration difficult. We interviewed 11 researchers working in projects that combined scientific and creative practice research, to investigate how they dealt with different epistemological approaches. In some cases, the discrepancies that were first experienced as hindrances turned into enablers, opening up new vistas for learning. Our findings show that the prerequisites for experiential knowledge transfer need to be built consciously by engaging in hands-on practices and shared cognitive activities that may extend beyond the personal comfort zone. Furthermore, the common goals and research questions need to be motivating for all involved. Although academic research funding agents encourage interdisciplinary research, funding alone is not sufficient to motivate people to work and truly learn together. By combining different types of knowledge in co-creation processes, participants are able to better share each other’s views and construct a multifaceted understanding. An analysis of the interviews suggests how a conscious development of interdisciplinary practice helps educate thinkers and makers to feel comfortable in the unsettling zone between disciplinary boundaries, and thus contribute to innovative research.
In participatory design (PD) processes driven by institutions, designers struggle in reaching out to silent and/or silenced human and more-than-human voices within local communities. This can in a long run contribute to polarisation in the design process. This paper explores how to reimagine designing with communities beyond polarisation, by rethinking the PD practice of ‘infrastructuring’ (i.e. ‘commoning’ and ‘institutioning’) from within the perspective of the ontological turn. This process of ‘ontologising’ infrastructuring aims to enable designers to design with and for radical interdependence and reach out to (ontologically) diverse actors who might in first instance seem unrelated if not antagonistic. We situate and evaluate this process in a concrete case study in urban planning in the Low Countries where we used mappings and platforms to map and engage with radical interdependencies. Rather than crystallising ‘ontologising’ as a PD practice, in this paper we aim to foreground it as a set of capabilities that designers may use to steer and evaluate their PD process with close attention to its politics.
Participatory Action Research (PAR) has a long history of use with disadvantaged groups in order to assist them to improve their living conditions, however its use with Information and Communications Technology (ICT) projects is less well known. This paper examines a case study where PAR was tied with the use of a technology probe by an Aboriginal group, with the goal of determining if culturally appropriate design of ICTs could help support individual well-being. The results of this project show that although PAR and probes can be used together, this combination has the potential to alter how probes are traditionally used in the design space. To support this premise, we review the history of the probes method in the literature and discuss changes in how cultural and technology probes have been implemented in recent years. We argue that as modifications are made to these frameworks due to the needs of the research, two sorts of project results should be fully elucidated: (1) the changes made to the original methodology and (2) how these changes have had an effect on the real-life environment to which they were applied.
Components of the design-based 3D Tune-In infrastructure for collaboration
This paper analyses an R&D project funded by the European Commission and aimed at studying, testing and implementing technological and gamification-based solutions for hearing impairment. In the course of the last three years, a variety of stakeholders with their different wants and needs, languages and agendas have interacted within the project. Particularly, this paper focuses on (1) how the project has built a design-enabled infrastructure to support the interplay of these stakeholders and (2) on how some specific organisational dimensions of this infrastructure - namely incompleteness, and redundancy - favoured coordinated action. Even though the concept of infrastructure has been thoroughly examined in design research, the organisational dimensions that allow to at least partially control divergences and convergences among the various stakeholders remain understudied. To address this gap, this paper intends to offer a contribution at the intersection of design research and organisational studies.
Cross-cultural design practices have begun to rise in prominence, but these practices have infrequently intersected with common user-centred design practices that value the participation and lived experience of users. In this paper, we analyse a shared data-set that documented the efforts of a Scandinavian design team as they designed a co-creation workshop with Chinese consumers. We identified how the design team referred to workshop participants, focusing on how these references implicated the design team’s understanding of Chinese culture. We identified referents to the participants to locate projection of and reflection on participant interaction, and performed a thematic analysis of design and debrief activities to document the team’s articulation and activation of instrumental judgements relating to culture. The team’s instrumental judgements shifted over time, moving from totalising cultural references in the design phase to frequent translator-mediated interactions in the debrief phase. Translators ‘nuanced’ the cultural meanings being explored by the design team, while team members attempted to engage with cultural concerns by ‘making familiar’ these concerns within the context of their own culture. Implications for considering culture as a part of standard user research methods and paradigms are considered, along with practical considerations for foregrounding cultural assumptions in design activity.
This study explores the application of physical prototypes to facilitate co-creation activities involving different stakeholders through a case-study analysis. It investigates how physical prototypes support the work of LEGO team at PG2 Front End Design Department (PG2FEDD) in co-creation processes. Additionally, this study will enhance our understanding of how physical prototypes facilitate not only knowledge sharing but also anticipating future user needs. Moreover, the study illustrates how careful deliberation and selection of ‘prototypes in the broadest sense’ improve co-creation practices. Results indicate that LEGO applies low- and high-fidelity physical prototypes iteratively in divergent and convergent co-creation activities to gather constructive and emphatic feedback from the stakeholders. The success of their co-creation processes is due to the strength and distinctive qualities of the LEGO system empowering people to build and foster connection and collaboration.
Autistic adults with limited speech and additional learning disabilities who are often excluded from design research are at the heart of this project. These are people whose perceptions, experiences and interactions with their surroundings are unique, but also are people who may not be able to communicate verbally their differences to the remaining 99% of the population. This, in combination with their distinctive cognitive profile, has resulted in a lack of studies involving people living with autism, and consequently their life experiences may neither be heard nor understood and remain largely unexplored. By reflecting upon the ongoing design collaboration between The Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design and the autism charity The Kingwood Trust, this paper reflects on the approach and methods used in three design studies. Particular attention is paid towards the careful selection, adaptation and development of collaborative design methods for autistic adults and their support staff to be involved. By working beyond the boundaries of a neurotypical culture, the project aims to support the greater goal of improving the everyday experiences of people living with autism by breaking down the barriers to participation.
This paper explores interaction in graduate-level industrial design education. We outline two instances of how design reviews are conducted through social contexts and provide a theorised analysis of these instances. In particular, this paper considers how participants in a design review – both an instructor and students – enact aspects of role-oriented authority and affiliation within the context of the review. Through perspectives associated with ethnomethodology and conversation analysis, this paper discusses how a misunderstanding and a request (and the response to that request) are managed through speech, gesture, and gaze direction. We explore how the interactive, co-presence of an instructor and students impacts upon the overall performance of the review and show how some of the pedagogic practices of design education are enacted through the contexts of discourse and embodiment. This paper provides opportunities for design instructors, students, professionals and researchers to reflect upon the collaborative micro-activities of design education and to consider the impact that these may have upon participants’ experiences and perceptions of design education.
Participatory design and planning processes are subject to co-option by neoliberal forces and post-political logics. This places participatory practitioners, such as co-designers or planners involved in co-production in a difficult position, whereby not taking a critical stance can lead to legitimising and normalising the dominant logic of the state or elite. However, taking a clear critical stance can result in a loss of access and trust from stakeholders and ultimately result in being side-lined from influential design or planning processes. This article critically adapts Eric M. Eisenberg’s theory of strategic ambiguity for the post-political context as a potential discursive resource for practitioners seeking to remain active within influential urban decision-making processes while sustaining a critical position and practice. It opens a discussion with the participatory practitioners ndvr on their use of ambiguity and how it negotiates a balance between access, trust and criticality.
This paper explores the transformative relations of unknowable possibility in three urban communities which upcycle human waste. Working with communities – human and nonhuman – is approached by applying the dynamic model of collective wondering conceived as (i) provisional proposition, (ii) responsiveness to difference, and (iii) affirmation in/of uncertainty. The communities act in concert with people, microbes, and earthworms to address unsustainable food systems. Their profoundly self-implicating engagement on the material, social and cultural level stems from a pendulation between actionable immersion (wondering at) and perspectival detachment (wondering about). Community – understood as togetherness in wondering – becomes a conduit for imaginative, counter-intuitive thinking, and doing that can diversify existent, dominant, and hegemonic perspectives. Three agroecological cases illustrate how cultivating a rich, interactive context for exchanging or moving positions give birth to a plurality of perspectives, human and nonhuman, on the world. Since physical, social, and cultural positions in people and groups are never fully determined, codesign that provides ample possibility for repositioning – including unsettling bathroom routines, group debates, compost care, and agroecological tinkering – is crucial for opening perspectives and influencing how people act in close relation with unknowable otherness.
Much research on personas focuses on how to develop and use personas, less on the validation and concrete value of them in the development of products for cultures far away from the actual design site. This article illustrates how such a validation was accomplished through producing a film and it provides an in-depth case description of how personas were developed and used. When designing a waste management system for soft plastic for a small village in India, personas were developed and applied by the designer to maintain a user-oriented focus throughout the participatory design process. During a three-month stay in the village, personas based on real people and the villagers’ everyday life and practices were developed by getting to know people and their ways of life through the use of ethnographic methods (observations, interviews, workshops and a film). The personas created a substantial understanding of the users’ individual needs, interests, values and emotions and helped to overcome the physical and cultural distance, enabling a strongly contextualised design.
A number of techniques from drama and theatre have been appropriated for use in design to stage performances with and about users. In this paper, we address how drama and play-making can benefit design at moments other than staging. Building on the work of drama-in-education scholar Gavin Bolton, we articulate design-relevant learning qualities of using drama in design. We recognise that significant moments of learning about human conditions and technology take place in making and managing staged performances. We point to how significant but often implicit design decisions are taken in the making of a play and study their conditioning effect on the continuation of a design process. The focus of our inquiry is on the development of an oblique angle and its indirect directive qualities as a pre-set framing for using drama in design as well as an emergent framing that follows from using drama in design.
Systematised collaborative design of complementary currencies is still a largely unexplored area that offers underutilised opportunities for supporting a fair and sustainable sharing economy. Future currency design necessitates attention to the systemic factors and the social particularities in which new monetary alternatives, i.e. ‘monies’, and the technological solutions that serve these alternatives, are created. This paper argues for a socially and contextually sensitive design of complementary currency innovation. It considers the technological conditions and the tendencies to exploitation from contemporary capitalism. Based on the literature review, we propose collaborative design of complementary currencies with particularist and inclusive approaches. New directions for open-ended economic innovation are explored in finding opportunities in the future-oriented Transition Design, supported by an empathic and ambivalent design mindset.
Teacher and student interaction in a design studio setting has always been the basis of design education. A fundamental difficulty of design education is that the content of these one-on-one meetings between teacher and students remains remarkably implicit. In this paper, we present an explorative study that uses the design grammar model (DGM) as an observational framework for teacher–student interactions. The DGM is rooted on the concept of design grammar that can be broadly defined as the visual language used to design. The study focuses on the industrial design junior students’ meetings with their teacher; our research proceeds from a protocol analysis of the transcripts that are coded according to the DGM. The resulting data are then used to develop a series of diagrams that are employed as a visual analysis tool. The diagrams synthesise and convey large amounts of data that permit immediate analysis and elicit new interpretations. The study resulted in encouraging results regarding the DGM’s potential as an analysis tool for teacher and student interactions, as well as a diagnostic tool for teachers.
This article aims to explore how ANT might help us to rethink collaborative and participatory design (C&PD) practices through converting Bruno Latour’s call for risky accounts to a call for design things together. What if ANT starts to be in the business of designing new pieces of technology and not just actor-network accounts of them? What would the design process and its outcomes look like? In response to these questions and to the challenge of co-habitation as vital condition for our technical democracy, I propose three turns in C&PDs. The first is ontological and suggests to design actor networks and to look for ways to make these networks visible. The second is methodological and suggests reimagining co-design as actor networking in public, aided by a much-needed cartography of design. The last is epistemological: it is concerned with what knowledge should inform action in the design process, and it proposes to the idea of the designer as an agnostic Prometheus.
This paper argues how communicative planning approaches, as one of the most dominant conceptualisations of participatory planning, often ignore the embodied dimensions of participation as a socio-political learning processes. To do so, the paper theoretically traces why a Habermasian conceptualisation of political intersubjectivity fails to democratise planning processes and turns to an alternative Mouffean framework where coproductive methods are conceptualised as public pedagogic interventions, allowing for different meanings to be created and shared in a dialogical process. Based on an analysis of two experiments the authors have conducted, some lessons are drawn on how specific methods can be designed to stimulate more embodied forms of intersubjectivity between involved actors, while avoiding top-down consensus-making. In this way, the analysis demonstrates how such methods stimulate participants to share experiences, while orienting the discussion in a spatialised direction and creating a space where the ambivalence of place is effectively stimulated.
The role of making in the design process has been growing, taking on new forms and involving new players over the past 10 years. Where we once primarily saw designers using making to give shape to the future, today we can see designers and non-designers working together, using making as a way to make sense of the future. In this paper, we describe the landscape of design research and practice at the end of 2013 with special attention to the role of making across these perspectives: approach (cultural probes, generative toolkits and design prototypes), mindset (designing for people and designing with people), focus in time (the world as it is, the near future and the speculative future) as well as variations in design intent (provoking, engaging and serving).
The public sector, increasingly acknowledging a need for change but strongly influenced by market logics, is experimenting with new forms of co-production of public services based on collaborations between public providers, citizens and societal actors. At the same time, Co-design researchers, are using approaches of infrastructuring and commoning to navigate questions of participation and collaboration in co-production. By discussing the case of ReTuren, a co-produced service for waste handling and prevention, this article presents how infrastructuring and commoning can offer guidance to civil servants engaging in co-production. In the case, civil servants on an operational level and an ‘embedded’ Co-Design researcher worked side-by-side in the co-production of the service, jointly articulating and appropriating approaches of infrastructuring and commoning. The case reveals that the joint appropriation and articulation of these Co-Design approaches can lead to the development of new ways of operating and perspectives in the public sector. However, it also highlights that this joint effort needs to involve people across organisational levels in order to minimise possible contextual and worldview breakdowns within public organisations.
This paper explores how the roles or social categories 'architect' and 'client' are performed by participants as they meet to talk about the design of a crematorium. The analytic framework through which the interaction is studied is Membership Categorisation Analysis (MCA). By attending to the participants' talk through the perspectives of MCA, we can see how questions and answers, attributions of building ownership, and assessments of the building are enacted in ways that enable the participants to competently perform as 'architect' and 'client'. Thus, as well as the participants' interaction helping to shape the actual form of the building, it also helps to shape and perpetuate ideas concerning what it is to 'do' architecture.
Pioneering psychology and co-design research has highlighted the potential that multi-user virtual environment (MUVE) may help architects’ exploratory creativity that is a recursive search to discover an optimal match of novel and appropriate solutions. However, it has been not reported hitherto in what ways MUVE helps or obstructs architects’ exploratory creativity in individual and collaborative modes of collaboration. To investigate this issue, we compared MUVE and sketching media in face-to-face and remote collaboration modes, involving 22 pairs of architecture major students. Based on interview and video-observation, we discovered that (1) in MUVE, anthropomorphic avatars, which other media do not have, enabled individual and collaborative explorations to discover unexpected affordances of new solutions, with evaluation on physical properties and layouts of solutions. In addition, (2) co-presence with collaborator’s avatars enabled inspiration on new ways of problem-solving and puzzle-making through shared design processes and events, with co-evaluation on social aspects of design solutions. (3) Co-presence in a shared environment also allowed mutual co-exploration that promotes emerging creative solutions, with co-modification on design errors. As barriers of MUVE, (4) avatar’s immersion caused inconvenient perception to explore large-scaled environments and track collaborators’ different experiences, but the barriers were not reported in remote collaboration.
This paper addresses the issue of collaboration dynamics in design by examining, in a longitudinal setting, how quality of collaboration and design co-evolve during a real design studio in architecture. We observed two groups of four students working in a three-month architecture studio setting. Based on a multidimensional method for assessing the quality of collaboration, we investigated the interplay between the design project evolution, design outcomes and the quality of collaboration between the students. The two groups were compared at early, middle and final steps of the project. Results show that dimensions of collaboration evolve independently and that ‘good’ collaboration is a cause and a consequence in the rapid progression of the design. In our conclusion, we discuss the links between design projects progression, their outcomes and quality of collaboration, which co-evolve during the sessions.
Game server technology is readily available for the creation of massive multiplayer online games such as World of Warcraft or Second Life. This game server technology provides services to authenticate users, load balance clients, share information across multiple servers, handle artificial intelligence services, and so on. By harnessing this collaborative software and integrating its capabilities with multi-user collaborative tools, a better real-time experience can be achieved than that provided by current collaborative tools, because of two significant factors that current multi-user tools cannot provide: scalability and low bandwidth consumption. This article presents a multi-user game server technology that was integrated with a real-time multi-user computer aided application (CAx) tool called NX Connect, to demonstrate how the game server technology can increase the capabilities of current multi-user software through these two capabilities.
Workshop offerings by Trial & Error e.V. Reproduced with permission.
Data collection process.
Open workshop Komglomerat. Reproduced with permission.
Open Workshop Konglomerat event. Reproduced with permission.
Gathering at open workshop Komglomerat. Reproduced with permission.
DIY citizen initiatives exploring everyday-life practices such as collective making or repair are on the rise. These are characterised by the resources, local knowledge, and volunteer labour they mobilise but also by fragility of long-term sustainment. To understand what is at stake in sustaining them, the authors conducted a case study of a longstanding DIY citizen initiative in Berlin, cross-checking the findings by interviewing employees of two supporting institutional arrangements and organisers of three further DIY initiatives nearby. The study revealed how the DIY initiatives tie together roles and resources to provide concrete everyday infrastructure for citizens while dependent on resources such as space, insurance, legitimacy, and knowledge to navigate surrounding bureaucracy, provided largely via various institutional arrangements. Conversely, these established institutional arrangements benefit from DIY initiatives’ local knowledge, authenticity, and expertise. Finally, both sides wish to gain fuller mutual understanding and dialogue-related competencies. The findings highlight the generative repair, performed by both citizen initiatives and the institutional arrangements, that makes their change agendas relevant and lasting. They also point to potential value from considering some of these attempts as forms of infrastructuring with relevance for contemporary participatory design practices.
This study investigates how design artefacts shape interactions among student designers and design reviewers to mediate design and design learning. By analysing data collected from two design courses in mechanical engineering and industrial design courses, this study draws on Winner’s concept of politics of the artefact and Gee’s discourse analysis to explore the ways in which design artefacts help structure social relationships and power dynamics between reviewers and students in design learning settings. We use this exploration to examine how student designers work with reviewers to negotiate meaning as they shift from student to collaborator. Our results indicate that functional and well-developed design artefacts allowed students to position themselves as experts of their designs; engage in collaborative, innovative discussion with design reviewers; and elicit constructive feedback from reviewers. In contrast, students who developed incomplete or inaccurate design artefacts experienced limited dialogue with reviewers and reinforced the power distance between them.
This article explores how engagement with tangible design artefacts can invite, and sustain focus on, the different professional perspectives that emerge in multi-stakeholder workshops. Multiple interests and intentions can pose challenges, especially in the initial phases of collaborative work. Existing design research emphasises the use of tangible artefacts as mediators for collaboration, but limited attention has been given to how they could be used to expose tensions and opposing perspectives as a way to enable movement beyond stuck conversation among stakeholders. We examine the design and use of two tangible artefacts for multi-stakeholder collaborative inquiry, demonstrating how interaction with them can encourage open and active confrontation of underlying and contradictory stakeholder interests and intentions. Since unspoken conflicts can undermine the early stages of collaborative inquiry, we propose that the use of tangible artefacts to explore taken-for-granted assumptions is crucial if stakeholders are to negotiate perspectives and co-create new meaning.
Brands undeniably constitute a significant asset for a company and are usually specified in its organisational strategy. Typically, employees are not invited to participate in debates or decisions about branding since they access brand information in a unidirectional way. Many of them do not even know how to convey appropriate messages and fail to recognise the importance of brand consistency. In this article we propose a heuristic for an interaction structure aimed at brand artefact co-design, through a computer-mediated platform, so that employees may learn about the brand, develop brand knowledge, propose meaningful brand artefacts and manage the evaluation of their peers’ proposals. We prepared a non-functional prototype of a Participatory Brand Centre and tested it in focus group sessions with the University of Aveiro's employees. We found that though our proposal is consistent with employees’ brand-related needs, authorship is a sensitive issue.
In this paper we draw upon the articles included in this special issue to question how to re-politicise co-design and participatory design (PD). Many authors in these fields have recently made a plea to re-engage with ‘big issues’ as a way to address this concern. At the same time, there is an increased attention into the micro-politics of the relations that are built-in co-design and PD. These two approaches are sometimes presented as working against each other with a de-politicising dynamic as a result. The editorial hypothesis of this issue is that designing visions can turn the tension between addressing the big issues and close attention to the particularity of relations into a motor for re-politicising design. Through engaging with literature, the articles presented in this issue, and two fieldwork cases that explore this dynamic, we discovered that paying careful attention to the activity of designing visions can support re-politicisation. While visions enable us to develop relations with close attention to their politics, building relations supports a more political approach to designing visions on issues. We argue that vision-making can particularly support re-politicisation when it enables the articulation of the political by relating its situated reality to how it unfolds in space and time.
In recent years, various critiques of participative approaches to design processes have been presented. Participatory urban planning has been subject to a specific form of criticism, which posits that such processes are ‘post-political’, inasmuch as they merely legitimise the power and political agendas of elites. In reviewing a case of participatory urban planning in Gothenburg, Sweden, this article suggests that actor-network theory can be operationalised as an alternative means to account for democratic deficiencies of co-design practices. It thus uses the concept of translation to describe how the original interests of participants may be betrayed, as successive translations cause objectives to drift. It also suggests that the key agency in these unfortunate betrayals is not human, but emerges through the material modes of collaboration. The article thus endeavours to contribute to the debate on how co-design processes may become more effective means to democratise urban planning and design.
This paper examines the issue of assessing the value of social design research. It locates the emergence of social design practice and research against a background in which public and social organisations are increasingly bureaucratised as a result of New Public Management and shifts to New Public Governance. Within universities, too, organisational processes and structures require research to demonstrate impact within an audit culture. Through the study presented in this paper, we claim that the bureaucracies found in contemporary academia are ill-equipped to adequately assess generative, impactful, and multi-sited research in which value is co-produced with diverse participants. This presents challenges when attempting to understand the value of social design research. Building on social research and studies of innovation policy, sustainable human-computer interaction and evaluation, we define social design research as inventive, contingent, and political. To address the issue of its evaluation, we propose two-stage social design research. In the first stage, research issues, questions, methods, data, and ‘proto-publics’ are assembled, which reveal the conflicting framings and ways that value is assessed. These are re-assembled in a second stage during which the research is stabilised. The findings have implications for research managers, academics and their partners, and university administrators.
Top-cited authors
Pieter Jan Stappers
  • Delft University of Technology
Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
  • The Ohio State University
Froukje Sleeswijk Visser
  • Delft University of Technology
Per-Anders Hillgren
  • Malmö University
Remko van der Lugt
  • Hogeschool Utrecht