Open and Sustainable Innovation Systems (OASIS) Lab working notes

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Q: What tension points exist in the quest for greater inclusion in participatory design?

Description

The battle might be lost even before you start just because of who you are as a design team

Participants expressed distrust of researchers who were from the local university due to perceived abandonment after studies were conducted

Traditional "design thinking" trappings may be barriers

There may be unhelpful associations with some of the *materials* that are typically used in design sessions, such as crayons and sticky notes

For example, through PD workshops with low-income African American residents in Chicago @harringtonDeconstructingCommunityBasedCollaborative2019 reported that

Codesign participants said that the ideation materials used for the brainstorming sessions (e.g., markers, colored pencils, sketching paper) felt "infantilizing and belittling", and incongruent with the seriousness of their problems

Difficulty dropping constraints / blue sky for users from tough settings

@harringtonDeconstructingCommunityBasedCollaborative2019 reported that

Codesign participants wanted to brainstorm more realistic ideas that respected their resource constraints and were closer to resources they could control, rather "out of the box" ideas that ignored these constraints or relied on resources from researchers or local governance. An example of this sort of idea was a resident petition to be issued to housing authority committees.

Be careful of narrow focus on technological solutions (or, solutions that ignore complex sociopolitical context)

Codesign participants wanted to brainstorm more realistic ideas that respected their resource constraints and were closer to resources they could control, rather "out of the box" ideas that ignored these constraints or relied on resources from researchers or local governance. An example of this sort of idea was a resident petition to be issued to housing authority committees.

participants expressed doubts about the usefulness of technological solutions for their communities due to past experiences with policies and laws perpetuating inequity

A similar theme comes from @walshEquityEqualityAmerican2018, who reported that

A librarian suggested the design process focus on the children's safety and security. This level of respect for them allowed the children to devise prototypes which were relevant to their community and aided in the engagement of the children.

This, together with @harringtonDeconstructingCommunityBasedCollaborative2019's observation about the very different nature of solutions generated by deep participation, illustrates the potential value of deep user participation in the design process.

Barriers that prevent people from coming/joining

@walshEquityEqualityAmerican2018 reported that

issues with travel and time constraints kept children from underserved communities and who attended after school activities from attending lab sessions in the first 3 years.

To accommodate this,

Design sessions were changed from year long projects to month long projects and focused on one design problem rather that multiple problems

Others

Different (sometimes opposing) conceptions of "success": who gets to decide is a key question

Success = centering community concerns and local knowledge

Need to produce a tangible "thing"

Salma Elsayed-Ali: Techno-solutionism may need to be downplayed as not all design problems warrant design solutions.

Speed

User involvement might be too "slow/expensive" for the desired pace of industry/business

PD with children must not only be productive, but also fun and engaging R: yaroshExaminingValues2011

Costliness for the design team

Portability dimension

Need for accommodation dimension

Conjecture: Some of these tension points might be irreconcilable (we must pick); others might be navigable and resolvable. It would be interesting and useful to sort out the differences, and make sure we're not prematurely closing ourselves off to opportunities

The concept of design tensions might be a useful analytical tool for sorting these out, which are actually under the potential agency of a design team @tatarDesignTensionsFramework2007

@harringtonDeconstructingCommunityBasedCollaborative2019 actually build directly on this analytical framework to identify tensions along the way towards making more equitable Participatory Design approaches for engaging with vulnerable populations

Approaches to Participatory Design

Participatory Design (PD) → Where greater depth/engagement/quality are introduced

Seen as an academic endeavor so there is skepticism in industry about how it can be applied @sandersCocreationNewLandscapes2008a barrier

Intentions to disassemble structures with unequal distributions of power (goes against social norms, capitalism). You must already be socially committed and aiming for democracy as a precursor to using PD @sandersCocreationNewLandscapes2008a barrier

Goes against the culture of consumerism @sandersCocreationNewLandscapes2008a barrier

Shifts power from experts to novices (experts may not want to relinquish power to the extent required for PD to be effective) @sandersCocreationNewLandscapes2008a barrier

Requires creative contexts to be in place to make the most of the co-design experience @sandersCocreationNewLandscapes2008a barrier

May not champion/allow for ownership (think of IP and who owns ideas as being unclear) barrier

Might have some parallel issues (and possible solutions) in open data and open source work

Role negotiation, assignment, and responsibility can get fuzzy (must be able to navigate) barrier

Involvement is active and creative benefit

Could create infeasible/non-implementable solutions @harringtonDeconstructingCommunityBasedCollaborative2019 barrier

Temporary nature of it (usually not sustainable) barrier

Users move into roles as “peer co-designer, design owner, expertise contributor, and self advocate” R: fleming2008 benefit

Promotes equality for all participants in the design process but doesn’t really follow through @scaifeDesigningDesigningInformant1997 barrier

Makes use of low-tech, creative tools @largeBondedDesignNovel2006 benefit

Response/was inspired by CI @largeBondedDesignNovel2006 but is skeptical about equality existing within intergenerational design teams @scaifeDesigningDesigningInformant1997

Situated between ID and CI @largeBondedDesignNovel2006

Sees users (in this context, children) as full team members @largeBondedDesignNovel2006 benefit

Aims to unite novices and experts (people with varying levels of expertise/multiple disparate groups) @largeBondedDesignNovel2006 benefit

Takes time constraints into consideration @largeBondedDesignNovel2006 benefit

Process is evolutionary for all those/stakeholders involved @largeBondedDesignNovel2006 benefit

Involvement from start to finish of the design process R: druin1999 benefit

Intergenerational R: druin1999 benefit

First emerged in Druin’s work on KidPad (a software system that supports non-linear stories) with the KidsTeam at University of Maryland in 1997 R: druin1997

Q: What tension points exist in the quest for greater inclusion in participatory design?