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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).
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Probes, toolkits and prototypes: three
approaches to making in codesigning
Elizabeth B.-N. Sandersa & Pieter Jan Stappersb
a Department of Design, The Ohio State University, 105 Hayes
Hall, 108 North Oval Mall, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
b ID-StudioLab, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft
University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628CE Delft, The
Netherlands
Published online: 06 Mar 2014.
To cite this article: Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders & Pieter Jan Stappers (2014) Probes, toolkits and
prototypes: three approaches to making in codesigning, CoDesign: International Journal of
CoCreation in Design and the Arts, 10:1, 5-14, DOI: 10.1080/15710882.2014.888183
To link to this article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2014.888183
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Probes, toolkits and prototypes: three approaches to making in
codesigning
Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders
a
*and Pieter Jan Stappers
b
a
Department of Design, The Ohio State University, 105 Hayes Hall, 108 North Oval Mall,
Columbus, OH 43210, USA;
b
ID-StudioLab, Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering,
Delft University of Technology, Landbergstraat 15, 2628CE Delft, The Netherlands
(Received 20 December 2013; accepted 10 January 2014)
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).
Keywords: design; codesign; making; cultural probes; prototypes; generative toolkits;
service design; design fiction; future
Introduction
The past 10 years have shown a rapid adoption of methods of doing research into
design processes. Only 5 years ago, we reviewed the emerging landscape of design
research and practice and noted that a wide spectrum of approaches was emerging,
varying on both the roles of users (sometime the objects of study and at other times
becoming active codesigners), and the types of research methods involved (ranging
from traditional scientific to designerly) (Sanders and Stappers 2008). Now, we can see
that these methods are finding widespread use in academia and areas of industry
(although different branches of industry are adopting them at different rates). Methods
and tools for doing design research have found their way into introductory and
advanced textbooks (e.g. Martin and Hanington 2012; Sanders and Stappers 2012) and
practitioner-oriented guides (e.g. Kumar 2012; van Boeijen et al. 2013). And on the
Internet we can see an explosion in collections of tools and methods aimed at both
students and practitioners.
Meanwhile, the codesign community has been sharing more and more of its methods.
In 1999, the seminal papers on cultural probes (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti 1999) and
generative toolkits (Sanders 1999) only sketched principles and examples. In 2005, the
context mapping paper (Sleeswijk Visser et al. 2005), in the first volume of this journal,
q2014 Taylor & Francis
*Corresponding author. Email: sanders.82@osu.edu
CoDesign, 2014
Vol. 10, No. 1, 5–14, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/15710882.2014.888183
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was written with the specific motivation to give an explicit and hands-on description of
how this way of conducting design research can be done, so that researchers could
compare methods. Since then, dozens of projects have been published, reporting on their
methods and tools to varying degrees.
One key ingredient of the designerly ways of doing research is that they involve
creative acts of making: designers creating probe packages, respondents creating
interpretations of its ambiguous questions and answering them, design researchers making
generative toolkits, participants using these toolkits to make expressive artefacts and
discussing those, and codesigners creating and evaluating prototypes, often in iterative
cycles. The act of making here is not just a performative act of reproduction, but a creative
act which involves construction and transformation of meaning, by any or all the people
just mentioned, and in all those activities.
The primary goal of this special issue of CoDesign is to consolidate our understanding
of making as a part of methods and tools within practices of participation. Methods and
tools for making give people designers and non-designers the ability to make ‘things’
that describe future objects, concerns or opportunities. They can also provide views on
future experiences and future ways of living.
The changing role of making in the design process
In the traditional design process, designers usually engage in making after the design
opportunity has already been identified. Over the last 10 years, we have seen the focus shift
to more varied forms and formats of making in the front end of the process. Today making
has become an activity that both designers and codesigners can engage in during all phases
of the process.
In the later phases making tends to take the form of a prototype that is built to test
whether the concept(s) should be further pursued. Iterative prototyping can be viewed as
‘growing’ early conceptual designs through prototypes into mature products (or services,
environments, experiences, etc.). Making is a particularly significant activity for
designers. In making, people can bring their insights to the surface. In research through
design, prototypes can play a number of roles (Stappers 2010).
.Prototypes evoke a focused discussion in a team, because the phenomenon is ‘on the
table’.
.Prototypes allow testing of a hypothesis.
.Prototypes confront theories, because instantiating one typically forces those
involved to consider several overlapping perspectives/theories/frames.
.Prototypes confront the world, because the theory is not hidden in abstraction.
.A prototype can change the world, because in interventions it allows people to
experience a situation that did not exist before.
Earlier in the design process other types of visualisations (e.g. scenarios, storyboards)
are made to allow us to experience, test, transform, develop and complete our early ideas.
Both designers and other codesigners are involved in these forms of making. Here, the
thing being made is not a forerunner of the future product, but a vehicle for observation,
reflection, interpretation, discussion and expression.
Finally, in the very earliest phase of the design process, the focus is on using making
activities for making sense of the future. Here, making activities are used as vehicles for
collectively (e.g. designers and codesigners together) exploring, expressing and testing
hypotheses about future ways of living.
E.B.-N. Sanders and P.J. Stappers6
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Making is part of a practice for participation
In the past years, codesign has grown in importance and in the range of methods and tools that
are available. So many methods, tools and techniques have been introduced that it has
become useful to provide frameworks for organising them. One such framework introduces
making, telling and enacting as ‘toolboxes’ (Sanders, Brandt, and Binder 2010). More
recently Brandt, Binder, and Sanders (2012) describe how practices of participation take
place in iterative cycles of making, telling and enacting. Figure 1 shows making as a part of a
practice for participation thatinvolves repeated moves between making, telling and enacting.
The focus in this special issue will be on the practice of making. But as the framework
reveals, we really cannot separate making from telling and enacting. We have seen in
practice that people make artifacts and then readily share their stories about what they
made or they naturally demonstrate how they would use the artefact (if it is intended to be
a representation of something concrete). Taken in isolation, the artefact may say very little
or remain highly ambiguous. In fact, this ambiguity is intentional, as it generates
opportunities for creativity, expression and discussion. The meaning of the artefact is
revealed through the stories told about it and the scenes in which it plays a role.
Probes, toolkits and prototypes
Probes and generative toolkits are two prominent approaches in the practice of
codesigning. They are both design-led approaches as described by the landscape of design
research and practice (Sanders and Stappers 2008), as reproduced in Figure 2. Probes
originated in the design-led and expert-driven corner of the map whereas generative
toolkits originated in the design-led and participatory corner of the map. The probes
approach invites people to reflect on and express their experiences, feelings and attitudes in
forms and formats that provide inspiration for designers (Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti 1999).
Generative toolkits describe a participatory design language that can be used by
nondesigners (i.e. future users) in the front end of design so that they can imagine and
express their own ideas about how they want to live, work and play in the future (Sanders
1999). Generative toolkits are typically used in facilitated collaborative activities, and
their results (artefacts and descriptions or enactments of their use) can be analysed to find
underlying patterns.
Today the methods, tools and techniques used in the probes and the generative toolkits
approaches overlap to a large extent. For example, Mattelma
¨ki (2005) describes how
design probes can serve as a means for dialogue with future users.
Figure 1. Making, telling, and enacting as complementary, connected activities in codesigning.
Source: From Brandt, Binder and Sanders (2012).
CoDesign 7
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When comparing cultural probes to generative toolkits, the most important difference
is at the level of mindset. Cultural probes are proclaimed (see Gaver, Dunne, and Pacenti
1999, Gaver et al. 2004) as artistic proposals to evoke inspiring responses from individual
participants, with designers using the responses at their own discretion. Generative toolkits
are used to follow a more deliberate and steered process of facilitation, participation,
reflection, delving for deeper layers in the past, making understanding explicit, discussing
these, and bridging visions, ideas and concepts [scenarios] for the future. The ‘path of
expression’ (Sanders and Stappers 2012), which is based on psychological theory about
memory and creativity, can be used to steer this process through the successive
considering of present experiences, good and bad memories from the past, and hopes and
dreams for the future. Table 1 compares generative toolkits, probes and prototypes across a
number of descriptive dimensions.
The call and its response
In Spring 2012, the call for this issue went out, describing the three areas of probes, generative
toolkits, and prototyping, and suggesting their places in the design process as shown in Figure 3.
In the response to the call for papers, we found each of these types of making was
represented by various authors and that they sometimes were connected. For example,
probes found their way into prototypes in the paper by Hardy and colleagues. Moreover,
different authorssometimes used key terms such as ‘probe’ or ‘prototype’ with very different
meanings, and those meanings were often implicit. So we decided that we needed to define
the terms we were going to use in the hope that together we could agree on a basic set.
Finally, the contributions came from people who have a broad range of backgrounds
and showed little overlap in cited literature. This was an indication of the state of the field,
and reveals that the convergence we proposed in the call for papers is a developing one; for
us CoDesign has been at the centre of this joining of fields.
Figure 2. The map of design research, showing different approaches laid along two axes: role of the
user (horizontal), and approach of the research (vertical). Source: From Sanders and Stappers (2008).
E.B.-N. Sanders and P.J. Stappers8
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Table 1. A comparison of the three approaches to making.
Probes Toolkits Prototypes
What is
made?
Probes are materials that
have been designed to
provoke or elicit
response. For example, a
postcard without a
message.
Toolkits (made up of a
variety of components) are
specifically confirmed for
each project/domain.
People use the toolkit
components to make
artefacts about or for the
future.
Prototypes are physical
manifestations of ideas
or concepts. They range
from rough (giving the
overall idea only) to
finished (resembling the
actual end result).
Why? Designers find inspi-
ration in users’ reactions
to their suggestions.
To give non-designers a
means with which to
participate as codesigners
in the design process.
To give form to an idea,
and to explore technical
and social feasibility.
What is it
made out of?
Probes can take on a
wide variety of forms
such as diaries, work-
books, cameras with
instructions, games, etc.
Toolkits are made of 2D or
3D components such as
pictures, words, phrases,
blocks, shapes, buttons,
pipe cleaners, wires, etc.
Prototypes can be made
from a very wide array
of materials including
clay, foam, wood,
plastic, simple digital
and electronic elements.
Who con-
ceives?
Designers create the
probes and send them to
end-users and other
stakeholders, often with
little or no guidance of
how the end-users
should treat them.
Designers and researchers
make the toolkits and give
them to others to use to
make artefacts. The
process is often facilitated
or guided.
Codesigners create the
prototypes to envision
their ideas and to display
and to get feedback on
these ideas from other
stakeholders.
Who uses? End-users and other sta-
keholders individually
complete the probes,
returning them to the
person who sent them
out.
End-users and other sta-
keholders use them to
make artefacts about or for
the future. Toolkits work
with both individuals and
small groups.
Designers use the proto-
types as design tools.
End-users may use the
prototypes during eval-
uative research events.
Figure 3. The original framework: Three approaches to making are located along a timeline of the
design process.
CoDesign 9
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The diagram of Figure 3 is the original framework that appeared in the call for papers.
In this paper, we develop it further below and refine it based on the submitted proposals
and the accepted papers as well as from our understanding of emerging trends in design
and research today. The revised diagram is shown in Figure 5 and will be discussed.
The phases of making along the design process
Today design encompasses many activities that traditionally were not considered part of
designing. A traditional product design project would begin with a brief and a list of
requirements (Make me a stool for toddlers, out of wood and for under $20). These days
many additional activities are considered to be a part of design, e.g. activities to determine
requirements (‘research’), to set general directions (‘strategy’), to evaluate design
(‘usability testing’), and to observe in the field on earlier product usage situations or how a
product is used after it has been released into the world.
When laid out along a timeline, we see four main phases, as shown in Figure 4. The
first black dot indicates the point at which the design opportunity has been established. The
second black dot indicates the point at which the thing that is designed is put to use.
Toolkits and probes are usually used in the early front end of the design process.
Prototypes are usually put into action once the design opportunity has been established.
The names of the phases which form the headings across the top of Figure 4 also
indicate the types of design research relevant at each phase. Figure 4 introduces pre-design
as research that occurs before the generative phase and post-design as research that takes
place after the design is produced. Pre-design research focuses on the larger context of
experience while post-design research looks at how people actually experience the
product, service or space. Generative design research leads up to the design opportunity
decision, and evaluative research takes place during the subsequent design development
process. The latter is labelled evaluative since the main concept is known and the
prototypes serve as instantiations which provide the means for evaluation and subsequent
refinement.
This process is iterative, with the tail end of the post-design phase leading to the front
end of another design process. We felt it was important to extend the design process model
to include experiences beyond the basic design process since several of the contributions
to this special issue come from the Participatory Action Research perspective, where such
iterations are fundamental to the unit of analysis.
Table 2 compares pre-design, generative, evaluative and post-design research phases
across a number of descriptive dimensions.
Figure 4. Phases along a timeline of the design process; the first dot indicates the determination of
the design opportunity and the second dot represents the finished ‘product’.
E.B.-N. Sanders and P.J. Stappers10
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The revised framework
The revised framework of Figure 5 is more explicit about the relationship between probes,
toolkits and prototypes within the design process. It also introduces two distinct mindsets:
designing for and designing with. These correspond, respectively, to the ‘user as subject’
and ‘user as partner’ perspectives that are shown in Figure 2. Here we can see that probes,
emanating from an expert-driven mindset, exemplify a designing for approach and cover
both pre-design and generative components. Generative toolkits come from a participatory
mindset and use the designing with approach primarily in the generative phase.
Prototyping, on the other hand, can be conducted from either a designing for or a designing
with mindset as some of the papers in this special issue will show.
The areas of overlap between probes, toolkits and prototypes have been carefully
placed to reflect our perspective on the current state of the approaches to making. It is
likely that the areas of overlap will become even bigger in the future as new methods and
tools are continually being explored.
Table 2. The research phases compared.
Design
research Pre-design and post-design Generative Evaluative
Purpose To understand people’s
experiences in the context of
their lives: past, present and
future dreams
To produce ideas,
insights and concepts
that may then be
designed and developed
To assess, formatively or
summatively, the effect
or the effectiveness of
products, spaces, systems
or services
To prepare people to
participate in codesigning
What will be useful?
Usable? Desirable?
Is it useful? Usable?
Desirable?
Results Empathy with people Opportunities for
future scenarios of use
Identification of problems
Creative codesigners Exploration of the
design space
Measurement of
effectiveness
Orientation Past, present and future Future Present and near future
Figure 5. The revised framework: three approaches to making are positioned relative to the
mindsets and phases in the design process.
CoDesign 11
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Approaches to making in different time frames
New approaches to making can be seen all along the phases of the design process. The
emerging landscape of design research and practice has also revealed that additional
approaches to design and making are emerging depending on the time frame under
consideration. Some approaches focus on the world as it is, others focus on the near future
(e.g. the next generation) and still others are aiming at longer-term, speculative futures.
Table 3 gives examples of the approaches to making from these three distinct time frames.
Let us take a closer look at two developing design contexts: service design and design
fiction. Service design, with its focus on the services provided by organisations and
enterprises, is concerned with the world as it is and the near future. Design fiction, on the
other hand, is concerned with speculative futures.
Service design is a vocal upcoming movement that proposes a holistic design method,
focusing on touch points or moments of use. Service design is being applied today in
industries such as banking, insurance, healthcare and travel where it often explores
interactions with multiple products and/or systems that together enable a service
ecosystem. The interest in and growth of service design has been instrumental in expanding
the types, and purposes, of making in the earlier stages of the design process. Service design
tends to advocate intensive user participation or sometimes codesigning. It has also added
greatly to our repertoire of ways to explore, express and evaluate views on current
experiences and near future ways of living. Another important contribution of the service
design trend has been the visualisations (often referred to as service blueprints) that reveal
the complex interdependencies that must be considered in the design of service systems.
Design fiction is a more recent phenomenon (see Resnick 2011) that describes a form
of codesigning through making. Design fiction lies at the intersection of future studies and
design where the time frame of the future is much longer than what we see in business
today. Its practitioners/theorists call it ‘materialization of the speculative’. The term was
originally coined by Julian Bleecker (2009) who explains that
Table 3. The three approaches to making are expanding across different time frames.
Probes Toolkits Prototypes
The world as
it is
Cultural probes (Gaver,
Dunne, and Pacenti 1999)
Toolkits for understanding
experience: a day-in-the-
life exercise
Usability testing of an
incrementally improved
redesign
Design probes
(Mattelma
¨ki 2005)
The near future Design Noir (Dunne
and Raby 2001)
Toolkits for exploring
future experience:
my-ideal-future-product
exercise
Usability/field testing of
a radical new product
The speculative
future
Diegetic prototypes
(Kirby 2011)
Toolkits for experiment-
ing with experience:
make-believe role-playing
with co-constructed
artefacts
Research through
Design prototypes
(Keller et al. 2009)
Artefacts from the future
(WIRED magazine)
E.B.-N. Sanders and P.J. Stappers12
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... design fiction is a hybrid, hands-on practice that operates in a murky middle ground
between ideas and their materialization, and between science fact and science fiction. It is a
way of probing, sketching, and exploring ideas. Through this practice, one bridges
imagination and materialization by modeling, crafting things, telling stories through objects,
which are now effectively conversation pieces in a very real sense.
Sterling (2013) provides a formal definition; ‘Design fiction is the deliberate use of
diegetic prototypes to suspend disbelief about change’. Thus, design fiction serves to
enlarge, enrich and activate our capacity for making sense of future ways of living before
we actually get there.
Service design and design fiction are just two of the newly emerging areas for design
research and practice that are receiving attention currently. Figure 6 positions a number of
the new approaches relative to each other and across the different frames of time. Note that
the diagram is radial and positions the designing-with mindset on the right side and the
designing-for mindset to the left side. The diagram shows where service design and design
fiction sit in relation to the other trends and approaches. At the centre of the diagram is the
traditional core of designing. The three time frames emanate outward from the core. The
first layer around the core refers to the world as it is, the second layer to the near future and
the third layer to the speculative future.
In the segment to the right, service design and social design are usually seen as
manifestations of the intent to serve people. In the middle, user experience and embodied
interaction aim to engage people. In the segment to the left, design interventions and
critical design intend to provoke or stir people. Design fiction sits mid-way between
engaging and provoking on the outside layer of the speculative future. What will sit
between serving and engaging in the speculative future?
It is easy to see that there are many places to explore making when we look across the
layers of time and the slices of intent shown in Figure 6. And when we consider the
potential impact of new information technologies together with social networks on these
new spaces of design, the future looks very bright. We just need to learn how to
collectively make sense (e.g. Kolko 2010) of it before it arrives.
Figure 6. Movements of design are emerging across time scales: the world as it is (inner ring), the
near future (middle ring) and the speculative future (outer ring).
CoDesign 13
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Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the contributors to this special issue for engaging in a dialogue about
codesigning through making, which allowed us to benefit from their views on the matter, and to our
colleagues and students who gave feedback on earlier drafts of this paper. We would also like to
thank Janet McDonnell for her encouragement and timely feedback on this special issue.
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... Like the previous study, these scholars formed themes around flourishing and biophilia by coding extracted participant comments. These generative and analytical processes are consistent with the literature, as Sanders and Stappers (2014) establish that cultural probes "evoke inspiring responses from individual participants, with designers using the responses at their own discretion (p. 8)". ...
... However, by developing a hypothesis during the research foundation, we can make our motivations clear. A growing tool in unpacking theoretical and practical insights, scholars are drawing on hypothesis-making to explore the limits of empathy in design (Heylighen and Dong, 2019) while Sanders and Stappers (2014) indicate the role of prototypes, such as this cultural probe study, in testing a hypothesis. ...
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In seeking to support healthy aging, designers have struggled to reduce their assumptions and biases toward older adults, been seen to interpret the worlds of later life through unfiltered imagery, as well as engage with stigmas, ultimately diminishing the technologies they construct. This article seeks to critically analyse this state-of-the-art from a design research perspective while engaging with the growing interdisciplinary study of aging and technologies. Toward this, we proposition “resolution” as a concept indicative of the level of detail that seeks to characterize the fidelity that representations of later life have. This concept is explored through a cultural probe study that investigated the sentiments of several older Australians regarding the inequities and social isolation brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Providing a diary alongside photovoice and mapping tasks, the study captured perceptions of social technology, practices, networks, and wellbeing, offering a diverse and complex picture of aging and technology. Through reflexive thematic analyses of some of these materials, this case study offers designers pathways to understanding and including older adults in their work. In determining the resolution of these images of aging, we discuss how transparency about the limitations and qualities of such participatory methods through incorporating reflexivity can influence the degree of detail such imagery gains. Ultimately this concept builds on the notion of participation configuration, supporting designers to realize better images of aging and representations of later life.
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
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Technology-rich creative and collaborative learning environments are believed to offer powerful settings for children to become acquainted with computational concepts through playful ways of learning. This chapter draws on a body of empirical research grounded in a Living Lab environment at Aalborg University in Denmark (Xlab – Design, Learning, Innovation), which functions as an educational mediator of playful workshops offering hands-on experience of technologies and creative approaches to experiment- and explorative-oriented activities, where children and teachers can play to learn. The chapter offers insights into understanding the tensions and potentials of such technology-rich environments for participatory-driven creative learning, providing information on practice-related possibilities for and constraints to implementing technology-rich educational designs in early years education.
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
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This project was aimed at taking on the challenge of developing a didaktik for preschool, through empirical and theoretical work. The design was built on teachers’ own video observations of play activities in preschool, where they themselves were participants. Teachers, their principals, and researchers met regularly at the university to collaboratively discuss the video recordings. On these occasions the researchers also provided further education on theoretical concepts useful for analysing play activities in preschool, such as metacommunication and intersubjectivity. The outcome was the theorisation of Play-Responsive Early Childhood Education and Care (PRECEC), consisting of a coherent conceptualisation of teaching, as a responsive activity, and play, as something participants signal to each other through shifts between communicating and acting as is and as if. A challenge we discuss in this chapter is how to deal with the ‘unknown’ in a practice-based research project, i.e. not only reproducing knowledge (further education) but also, critically and at the same time, developing new knowledge (research).
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
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In this commentary concluding this volume (Wallerstedt, Brooks, Ødegaard & Pramling, this volume), we discuss three principal matters: (i) what constitutes problems in research carried out in collaboration between researchers and ECEC personnel, (ii) limitations and ethical dilemmas that we find particular to such research, and finally (iii) the very terminology employed for this kind of research and its participating groups of collaborators.
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
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The MIROR Project (2010–2013) was a large-scale international research project financed by the EU, involving various researchers from six countries. It dealt with the development of an adaptive system (artificial intelligence, AI) for music learning and teaching in the context of early childhood music education. The project was based on a spiral design approach, involving coupled interactions between the technical partners and the research partners (from the disciplines of psychology and pedagogy/education). It raised methodological challenges concerning how the experiments and technology were designed, as they did not relate to Swedish preschool tradition, which will serve here as the contextualised case from which more general issues will be discussed. Different ethical issues were also faced in regard to how the research was planned, and stemming from the fact that there were commercial interests involved.
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
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Experiences from practices-development research, as presented in Part II of this book, identify what we call wicked tensions and problems (Bentley J, Toth. Exploring wicked problems: what they are and why they are important. ArchWay Publishing, 2020). The experienced team from Sweden, Denmark, and Norway have collaborated for many years with early years teachers and the early childhood education and care (ECEC; i.e. in these national contexts, preschool/kindergarten) sector in their efforts to respond to societal problems alongside practitioners. Enhancing meaningful practices in the ECEC sector by creating relevant academic knowledge for and within this sector is a policy expectation in response to the wicked problem of societal problems. In the effort to do so, our experience is that even if this effort is rewarding and new knowledge is created and practices are transformed, a range of tensions occur already from the start of new projects, and we encounter problems we cannot solve as they lie outside our immediate responsibility. Additionally, collaboration can risk violating the standards of research and the traditions of education. This chapter draws on examples from Part II of this book (Wallerstedt, Brooks, Ødegaard & Pramling, this volume). While the projects reported on vary in pedagogical themes, sites, and participants, they share a participatory research design in their efforts to respond to challenges and develop practices while undertaking research. The chapter first elaborates on the nature and challenges of wicked tensions and problems and thereafter identifies some of the tensions and problems reported. The aim of the chapter is to articulate the tensions and problems on a meta-level for further efforts of partnership research. The vision for knowledge development entering practices-development research from the reported projects is clear and similar across the projects. The common vision is to nurture practices for long-term knowledge gains. In this chapter, we suggest that experiences and reflexivity from the collaborative Scandinavian milieus across these projects can articulate some wicked tensions and problems and improve knowledge in this regard. The chapter provides a summary list of recommendations for stakeholders to consider when planning and conducting participatory design research.
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
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The aim of this chapter is to reflect on and problematise some of the collective processes that emerged in a 3-year participatory project. The project, situated in a linguistically and culturally diverse neighbourhood of a major Swedish city, was carried out between 2017 and 2019. The overall aim was to, in collaboration with participants, explore the conditions for early childhood education in a migrating world by identifying the challenges facing preschool institutions. An additional aim was to develop preschool practice through reflection and action. The project started out in an introductory unit for immigrant children aged 3–5 years who spoke little or no Swedish upon entering the unit; then, as the project went on, the whole preschool was gradually included in actions carried out in collaboration. Some of the spaces for action that opened up for the children, educators, and preschool managers are addressed in the chapter. Challenges involved, among other things, differences in the possibility to take part in action research processes among families involved in asylum processes and what space for action the preschool educators were actually afforded in the project.
... Co-creation as a concept is based on a participatory ethos, which has increasingly come to be extended to the political, social, cultural, and scientific spheres (Sanders & Stappers, 2014). Even though co-creation has recently become a widely used term, it can be argued that the participatory ethos is a well-established aspect within participatory research approaches, e.g. in design and action research (cf. ...
Chapter
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This chapter reports on the emerging findings during the first year of a design- and inquiry-based research project called Kindergarten Teacher as a Researcher. The project attempts to implement a design for collaboration and knowledge co-creation through a workshop methodology called Exploration and Pedagogical Innovation Laboratories (EX-PED-LAB). The project was funded by the Research Council of Norway as a starting grant for the common initiative of the Agency for Kindergartens (Bergen City, Norway) and the KINDknow Research Centre [BARNkunne – Senter for barnehageforskning], located at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL). The goal of the workshop laboratory was twofold: (1) to support early childhood educational leaders and staff in enhancing the quality of kindergartens in close collaboration with researchers and (2) to research three areas of common interest: the play, exploration, and learning environment; collaboration with families; and leadership and governance. This chapter highlights a set of features for success, as well as takeaway points for the further development of the workshop methodology, tailored to future early childhood partnership research programmes. Drawing on the case of the EX-PED-LAB project, the chapter seeks to describe the features of the success of and barriers to collaborative explorative processes and knowledge-creating practices in practices-developing research. These insights will be beneficial for further investigations, consolidations, and refinements of the workshop methodology.
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With the increasing social and ecological pressures on urban settlements, re-thinking how we produce them becomes a growing concern. Due to the diversity of actors across sectors and backgrounds involved in such design processes, collaboration is of utmost importance. Co-design can thus play a crucial role in integrating aims and knowledge as an evolving institutional process toward feasible, suitable and legitimate projects. While many studies on co-design focus on one-time activities, little attention is paid to conceptualising how such processes occur, involving several actors in dynamic participatory ways. We propose a Co-Design Framework and suggest that collaboration is achieved at many levels within different design steps in the process. Analysing three Chilean public space co-design processes through the lens of our framework, we highlight the intrinsic diversity of such an approach. This study posits that three co-design arenas interact (strategic, transdisciplinary, and socio-cultural) according to their main aims to enable, inform, and legitimise the projects accordingly. Our framework contributes to conceptualising and analyzing co-design and may also be useful to plan and develop such processes in academia and practice.
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Scholarship in the history and sociology of technology has convincingly demonstrated that technological development is not inevitable, pre-destined or linear. In this paper I show how the creators of popular films including science consultants construct cinematic representations of technological possibilities as a means by which to overcome these obstacles and stimulate a deisre in audiences to see potential technologies become realities. This paper focuses specifically on the production process in order to show how entertainment producers construct cinematic scenarios with an eye towards generating real-world funding opportunities and the ability to construct real-life prototypes. I introduce the term 'diegetic prototypes' to account for the ways in which cinematic depictions of future technologies demonstrate to large public audiences a technology's need, viability and benevolence. Entertainment producers create diegetic prototypes by influencing dialogue, plot rationalizations, character interactions and narrative structure. These technologies only exist in the fictional world – what film scholars call the diegesis – but they exist as fully functioning objects in that world. The essay builds upon previous work on the notion of prototypes as 'performative artefacts'. The performative aspects of prototypes are especially evident in diegetic prototypes because a film's narrative structure contextualizes technologies within the social sphere. Technological objects in cinema are at once both completely artificial – all aspects of their depiction are controlled in production – and normalized within the text as practical objects that function properly and which people actually use as everyday objects.
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Cabinet is a tool to support designers in the collecting and organizing of images. It was used in a case study that was conducted by three designers during their normal work practice for a period of 4 weeks. The way they reacted to and reflected on the prototype as well as their collecting behaviour was studied through observation and interviews. In this paper the results of the study are presented and discussed in the light of the growing recognition that computer tools should support creative rather than merely administrative tasks.
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Designers have been moving increasingly closer to the future users of what they design and the next new thing in the changing landscape of design research has become co-designing with your users. But co-designing is actually not new at all, having taken distinctly different paths in the US and in Europe. The evolution in design research from a user-centred approach to co-designing is changing the roles of the designer, the researcher and the person formerly known as the ‘user’. The implications of this shift for the education of designers and researchers are enormous. The evolution in design research from a user-centred approach to co-designing is changing the landscape of design practice as well, creating new domains of collective creativity. It is hoped that this evolution will support a transformation toward more sustainable ways of living in the future.
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When reason is away, smiles will play. --- Paul Eluard and Benjamin Péret
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In user-centered design, attention has shifted from improving usability and addressing ergonomic problems to wider perspectives such as experiences in everyday life. This shift has forced user-centered practitioners to evaluate and develop tools for finding new means of understanding user experience for design. Visual, playful and open-ended probes have raised fresh interest in the design community. In order to create a deeper understanding of this approach, this paper presents the fundamental qualities of probes and, based on empirical data and literature, describes four reasons for applying them in the product development and concept design context: for inspiration, for information, for participation and for dialogue.