Abstract

This paper examines the contemporary relevance of interdisciplinary research practice specifically within the field of design for social need. Examining the complexity of current social problems using the concepts of Rittel & Webber’s wicked problems, this paper looks at the potential for the application of co-design methods within an interdisciplinary framework. By proposing the use of a social model of design, it is argued that it is through co-design methods and the use of generative toolkits such as Liz Sanders’ MakeTools and IDEO’s Human-Centered Design Toolkit that the design process can be enhanced in the early stages. This paper argues for interdisciplinary practice by enabling user expertise so that the user can equally contribute to the design process. This paper also explores the changing role of the designer from researcher to facilitator, and how this can benefit communities dealing with complex problems. Finally, this paper looks at the benefits of active user involvement in socially responsible design through discussions on empathy, user empowerment and benefits to communities within design education.

Keywords:

Co-Design, Participatory Design, Interdisciplinary, Socially Responsible Design, Design Research, Toolkits, User, Expertise

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Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Everyday People: Enabling User Expertise in Socially Responsible Design

This paper examines the contemporary relevance of interdisciplinary research practice specifically within the field of design for social need. Examining the complexity of current social problems using the concepts of Rittel & Webber’s wicked problems, this paper looks at the potential for the application of co-design methods within an interdisciplinary framework. By proposing the use of a social model of design, it is argued that it is through co-design methods and the use of generative toolkits such as Liz Sanders’ MakeTools and IDEO’s Human-Centered Design Toolkit that the design process can be enhanced in the early stages. This paper argues for interdisciplinary practice by enabling user expertise so that the user can equally contribute to the design process. This paper also explores the changing role of the designer from researcher to facilitator, and how this can benefit communities dealing with complex problems. Finally, this paper looks at the benefits of active user involvement in socially responsible design through discussions on empathy, user empowerment and benefits to communities within design education.

 

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