Sustainable innovation and transitions are increasingly gaining traction within academia, industries, and policymakers. Despite the research efforts, sustaining innovation and operationalizing transitions still remains a barely explored field. The pragmatic step from understanding towards doing is often not made explicit in the literature. In fact, it results in an unclear and vague grip on how to operationalize these understandings, or differently put on how to make this understanding pragmatic. In the current article, we conducted an integrative literature review using human-centeredness lenses that informs the so-called ‘Human-Dimension’ framework. We argue that adding the Human-Dimension to the existing models for analysis, such as the Multi-Level Perspective framework, might clarify the different meanings that emerge within the network of actors in a transition, and knowing how to translate those individual meanings towards a collective construction of meaning might be enabled. To illustrate the framework’s contribution, we applied it to the context of a local sustainable development project. The results show how human-centeredness could serve as a domain to make the Human-Dimension of sustainable transitions actionable.
Even though, living labs have always referred to alternative futures, this chapter explores how capacity for future thinking can be enhanced in living lab practices. The aim is to advance current smart city visions through establishing bottom-up participatory innovation paradigms. We introduce Citylab Rotterdam, as a platform for participation and co-creation, where students, researchers, and teachers, co-create with local entrepreneurs, civil agents, and citizens, to rethink the future of Rotterdam. In this way, we take stock of the accompanying living labbing approach, which is rooted in the local social infrastructure of Rotterdam. Through deliberate training, insight-giving, and anticipation capabilities, we aimed participants to become more sensitive to identifying weak signals for significant change. And consequently become smarter citizens with future thinking capability, empowered to contribute to the smart city debate.
In keeping with the participatory turn, the current work discusses how a double-layered design approach can bring participatory design principles to the policy domain, illustrated by our experiences in a design project for the municipality of Delft, the Netherlands. More precisely, the approach described is double layered in nature, comprising of the Double Diamond design process, which aims to provide structure to the process, while the inclusion of the Frame Innovation method, aims to provide inspiration. First, this elaborate method is motivated in the context of the municipality of Delft, supported by current streams of literature on participatory design. Next, we present findings highlighting three pivotal moments experienced as a result of using this approach. By engaging in a reflective practice, key learnings and insights gained from the implementation of the approach are presented, as well as conclusions and recommendations for the field of design research within participatory design.
The increasing availability of large-scale datasets such as sensor data or social media data and increasingly accessible data science tools create unique opportunities for design. However, the relationship between data science practices and design methods is still underdeveloped. In this paper, we propose that data exploration activities can be effectively embedded within a broader design inquiry framework and define a new design method, coined Data Exploration for Design, to support methodical designerly data exploration. The design method addresses the novice’s learning curve and supporting developing a data exploration inquiry mindset with procedures and curated tools. The empirical evaluation highlights support for producing exploration outcomes that are worth the additional technical effort. We close the paper by positioning the findings in design methodology literature and motivating data exploration principles for design inquiry. The principles urge to acknowledge biases in data collection, spending time with the data, using visualizations as a means-to-anend, and designers being part of the data collection.
Port cities are a particular type of territory and are often long-standing examples of resilience, bringing opportunities, wealth, and innovation to their nations and their citizens. They have developed at the crossroads of international trade and commerce and the intersection of sea and land. Flows of people through trade and migration have played a key role in their spatial, social and cultural development. Their strong local identities share legacies of diversity and cosmopolitanism, but also of colonialism and segregation. The Qingjing Mosque in Quanzhou, Fujian speaks of the exchange between Arabia and China along the maritime silk road. Hanseatic cities stand as an example of far-flung networks with districts for foreign traders—think of the German merchants who established Bryggen, the German dock, in Bergen, now a UNESCO world heritage site.
The complex social challenges we face today require new solution strategies and action perspectives, both at a social and an individual level. New ways of working together are needed to ensure that the city is and remains a healthy place to live and a high quality of life, without depleting natural resources. A new approach to collaborative urbanization embraces a co-creative attitude and requires a social infrastructure that supports such a participatory approach.
Nowadays, wicked problems require society to seek for long-lasting transformation by applying diffuse creative competencies. Children's abilities could flourish by practice and lead to profound social change. Nevertheless, children's involvement in practice-based innovation is still limited. The current work investigates strategies to create arenas for children’s participation, without a top-down involvement from the institutions. A research through design study was conducted within a municipal social innovation project, to explore how 6 to 12 years old children can activate towards change-making in their community. In a series of participatory design interventions, a preliminary children's activation journey has been iteratively prototyped, informed by child-led dimensions and creative flow. Children’s role in the journey is discussed to provide further research directions. It is concluded that the method represents a viable access point for children's bottom-up participation in urban activism.
Public management needs to keep pace with contemporary problems and harvest capabilities to meet future scenarios. Consequently, practitioners in the public field must advocate for critical discussions and engage with people who are going to benefit from their guidance. The purpose of the current research is to investigate strategies to strengthen public management by exploring the potential of Design Thinking as a policy competency. A participatory design approach has been selected to co-create a learning environment for building design capabilities. In other words, a safe space that allows for sharing and nurturing knowledge, skills and attitudes. The setup of the participatory process entails a thorough exploration, in which a team of seven public managers of a regional association of municipalities participated. In four participatory sessions, a learning space has been iteratively prototyped, and finally evaluated in the context. Advantages and challenges to the selected approach are discussed to provide guidelines for a practical application and replication of the process within the target domain. It can be concluded that design interventions developed with the current integrated design approach have demonstrated viable opportunities for capacity-building in public management.
This workshop is concerned with the potentials and barriers of data in facilitating bottom-up innovation. We focus on two specific communities that could benefit from utilizing data, but may struggle currently. Firstly, civil society participating in grassroots actions, who use public data for innovation and to strengthen their advocacy. Secondly, organisations - especially SME's - who want to make use of data, especially large complex data sets, to design data-driven services.
The current work investigates how creativity manifests when designers use data work in the early phase of design. Designers are increasingly interested in utilizing the massive amounts of data surrounding our everyday lives. However, data work is still challenging to incorporate into the design process. In this paper, we present a case study with three novice design teams who were tasked to integrate data work into their design process. During the study, we observed how creativity took place in framing a design problem. We present and discuss their actions from a creativity process perspective, highlighting how they used and rationalized data-inspired inquiries creatively in the early phase of design. The current results inform the development of a design framework to structure data work methodologically and coherently into design processes. We coin this design framework Exploratory Data Inquiry.
Even though emerging city-makers are increasingly organized to trigger social changes, it is still hard to apprehend their real power to transform space and the way we live together. In this chapter, we explore how designerly approaches, such as hacking, making, and prototyping, can empower emerging city-makers to trigger a broader change and transformation process. It can be concluded that hackable city-making can make a difference when combining top-down public management with bottom-up social innovation. A patchable plug-in platform might enable emerging city-makers to create value for the city and for society. However, it asks for new ways of participatory governance that enable these emerging, heterogeneous city-makers to participate actively in exploring the collaborative envisioned potential and to have constructive dialogues aiming for transformational change for the common good.
This paper investigates the opportunities of leveraging a hackathon format to empower citizens by increasing their abilities to use open data to improve their neighbourhoods and communities. The presented discussion is grounded in five civic hackathon case studies organised in five European cities. The research revealed specialised learning and collaborative alignment as two mutually complementary aspects of the involved learning processes, which were achieved with the help of high-fidelity and low-fidelity prototypes, respectively. Consequently, the paper identifies and discusses three main factors required to sustain social learning ecosystems beyond hackathon events, and with the purpose of democratising smart city services. These factors include a) supporting individuals in obtaining specific expert knowledge and skills, b) nurturing data literate activist communities of practice made up of citizens with complementary expert skillsets, and c) enabling members of these communities to generate prototypes of open-data services of varying fidelity.
The focus of design studies has shifted from a product-centric perspective to a perspective in which value is defined by and co-created with the consumer, rather than embedded in the output. The reasoning hence focuses on the interplay between innovation and design processes. Moving from an earlier conceptualization of design-driven innovation, the attempt is to define the space of interaction between the different components of the innovation process. In this way a 3D innovation space can be sketched where different practices and experiences can be mapped. Through this exercise the key hypothesis of this work is empowered: no innovation is possible without design.
The current work explores the participation divide that is oftentimes at play within local citizen communities. The studied case illustrates a common situation where the majority of local citizens does not participate in public space improvement and maintenance activities organised by local community activists. The presented research involved semi-structured interviews supported by interactive service design probes. It has led to two strategies for stimulating community participation, namely 1) increasing transparency around community activities, and 2) embedding community participation in citizens' daily social practices.
Today, citizens, professionals, civil servants, social enterprises, and others form different types of coalitions to overcome the challenges facing our modern cities. In this paper, the particularities of these types of groups are characterised and categorised into ten different types of city makers. Generally, these types of city makers bring value to cities, but we conclude that this value could be enriched through more participatory approaches that stimulate crossovers and accelerate the transition towards sustainable futures. Therefore, we characterise the different identified types as potential ‘participatory’ city makers. However, these participatory approaches and the networks between them still need to be developed, while improving conditions and dynamics that can enable and enhance innovation in urban environments. Design and systems thinking could contribute valuable methods and perspectives to the development of these participatory and systemic approaches. Finally, the categorisation presented in this paper must enable a better understanding of the transformative capacity of these different types of city makers, necessary for flourishing and sustainable communities.
Along with the urgent need to reinvent our society, a series of paradigm shifts are already shaping transitions toward a more participatory and digital society. The current work takes stock of the promise of open data as a new resource and elaborates upon the maker movement, which has spurred people’s capacity to participate and has provided tools and infrastructures to unleash people’s intrinsic ability to create and innovate. We explore how open data can be a new commons, discuss how hackathons can support digital citizenship, and reflect on the role of Transition Design in creating ecosystems around the common resource and in building capacity.
Cities are increasingly seen as having an important role in tackling societal challenges related to climate change, while open innovation is increasingly accepted as a new way of working for governments. In the current work, we explore the role of open innovation to tackle global challenges on a city level. In the context of the city of Rotterdam and its vision on sustainability and liveability, seven collaborative initiatives are introduced. These initiatives aim to address both sustainability and liveability goals. Our research shows that in order to have these initiatives contribute to the overall municipal goal on sustainability and liveability, the municipality needs to take different roles. Whereas traditional open innovation literature usually distinguishes three main types of open innovation, namely outside-in, inside-out, and coupled processes, the current study shows that open innovation for sustainability in the city needs a much more fine-grained and elaborate perspective; a multi-level open innovation model that allows for different co-creative partnerships joining forces in sustainability challenges. It can be concluded that governments have a key role in infrastructuring these co-creative partnerships.
We are living in transitional times. Much has been under debate on the need to change and to cope with societal transitions, less emphasis, however, is devoted on how to do so. Therefore, one of the primary questions in Transition Design is how to design for sustainable transitions? The current work aims to evaluate ‘transition design studies’ by analysing and evaluating the current available practice of transition design in order to contribute to the field in two ways: first, by maturing through evaluation, and second, by identifying points of further research. Our findings show that three phases can be distinguished within transition design processes: Design research to understand past, present, and to envision the future; Designing interventions to create the right thing, at the right place, at the right time, and Design practice for transition that accumulate the design interventions in order to drive societal transitions.
Although Value Sensitive Design offers a theoretical and methodological framework to account for values in design, many questions and controversies are left. The current work aims to contribute to this value debate, by taking stock of large Research through Design (RtD) programs including their developed artifacts, to explore to what extent the explicit and tacit knowledge generated enabled actors to make public and cultural values explicit. Differently put, seven ongoing RtD projects have been studied in an elaborate RtD process articulated in three phases, differentiating in their focus: 1) understanding the values involved in the RtD projects; 2) share insights to steer peer debate on Research on Values, and 3) co-analyse the data and generate further insights. The current research brings forward two main contributions to the RTD community. On the one hand, using ongoing RtD projects in an RtD approach provides a kaleidoscopic perspective on how research and design constantly inform each other through the application of design. On the other hand, the adoption of this kaleidoscopic RtD approach in the context of multidisciplinary research on values acts as a catalyst that generated knowledge and insights to stimulate the debate on accounting values in design research.
Citizens and urban policy makers are experimenting with collaborative ways to tackle wicked urban issues, such as today’s sustainability challenges. In this article, we consider one particular way of collaboration in an experimental setting: Urban Living Labs (ULLs). ULLs are understood as spatially embedded sites for the co-creation of knowledge and solutions by conducting local experiments. As such, ULLs are supposed to offer an arena for reflexive, adaptive, and multi-actor learning environments, where new practices of self-organization and novel (infra-) structures can be tested within their real-world context. Yet, it remains understudied how the co-creation of knowledge and practices actually takes place within ULLs, and how co-creation unfolds their impacts. Hence, this paper focuses on co-creation dynamics in urban living labs, its associated learning and knowledge generation, and how these possibly contribute to urban sustainability transitions. We analyzed empirical data from a series of in-depth interviews and were actively involved with ULLs in the Rotterdam-The Hague region in the Netherlands. Our findings show five distinct types of co-creation elements that relate to specific dynamics of participation, facilitation, and organization. We conclude with a discussion on the ambivalent role of contextualized knowledge and the implications for sustainability transitions.
Mundane cities are challenged to design for unpredictable and rapidly changing futures. In the current work, we refer to these challenges as a collaborative design challenge and explore how co-creative partnerships can enable a participatory turn by estab- lishing a new social infrastructure. The corresponding citizen-centred design approach offers a variety of design opportunities to engage with citizens, to empower all involvement, and enabling a social fabric to be increasingly reflexive and responsive. Through the illustration of three collaborative design studies in the public realm, we explore how design can act as a strategy towards a transforming society. It shows that participatory designing enabled empowerment across the co-creative partnership, though it also calls for strategic guidance in order to sustain transformational change. We end with an elaborate discussion on the role of strategic design in facilitating the interplay among new coalitions of city makers towards a transforming society that embraces sustainable social innovation. It can be concluded that co-creative partnerships can act as network designers, capacity builders, and enablers of transformational change, and have the potential to act as change makers, driving sustainable social innovation
The current work elaborates upon a Generative Data Exploration method, which is a design technique aiming at supporting designers in integrating data in their design activities. Digital data offers new opportunities in all sort of professional domains, yet existing approaches and tools to manipulate data are predominantly targeted at data experts. As access to data is becoming democratised, new types of techniques are needed to leverage the agency of designers and to empower them to utilise data in the design process. Designers without prior data experience can benefit from the techniques, know-how, best practices of experts, if such expert knowledge is codified in design methods and tools. The aims of a Generative Data Exploration method are two-fold. First, the method facilitates a learning curve on gaining holistic data literacy. Second, the method supports designing where digital data, exploration of data and sense-making of data is part of the process.
This Conversation aims to explore the relationships between design education, design practice, and social change. To achieve this aim, the Conversation will bring educators and researchers from a variety of disciplines together to foster new exchanges and collaborations, allowing us to better explore questions about what it is that we learn when we learn to design, why that is, and what impact that has on our societies. During the Conversation, audience members will work in groups to create “prototype” research articles responding to themes and provocations proposed by the convenors.
This article aims to unravel the tensions that obstruct participatory city making: the processes in which government, entrepreneurs and citizens co-create new solutions for urban challenges. Participatory city making is explored and conceptualized through an empirical grounded study of local civil servants and citizen initiatives in Rotterdam. Through interviews and a set of three workshops the practices of these city makers are studied. A need for more transparency, influence and exchange was identified. The value of design is explored in general, and specifically the design of possible tools and interventions, to address the identified issues and tensions. This exploration shows that design-enabled interventions could, on the one hand, by `infrastructuring', anticipate on the diffused design activities of individual actors in the urban context, and on the other hand, the use of these tools and interventions could promote participatory approaches among the different city makers towards urban sustainability transitions
The recent developments in data science and end-user data tools indicate an opportunity for designers to adapt new data tools for design enquiry. Data has an unquestionable role in the future of the design practice for creating new digital products and services. Today’s data deluge also opens up new ways of enquiring about the world through data. The current work explores how designers could appropriate a data science workflow in their design research process. Two studies are conducted to explore how a data science workflow could be adapted into a design research process. We present how the participants appropriated data techniques for creative uses and how they synthesized a data-centric enquiry into their research process. We found that designers appropriate data using their creative capacities in hypothesis forming for data collection and exploratory data analysis, and we highlight some implications of this. Our findings can inform the design space of the creativity support of future data tools and future data-centric design methods.
In Rotterdam, the participatory turn has spurred various bottom-up communities around
public parks. These communities aim to take care of the parks in their neighbourhood and
search for ways to demonstrate the societal value of their initiative. The current work
explores how digital matchmaking services can strengthen community relationships. A
research-through-design approach is applied to identify the main barriers hindering
community participation. The final design Park Makers uses both Citizen-to-Activity
matching and Citizen-to-Citizen matching as ways to engage citizens in the community. The
corresponding research demonstrates that connecting park users (or better: future
volunteers) with another citizen or activity matching their personal interest fosters
community engagement. From this point of view, it might be interesting to focus further
research on the potential value of other matchmaking principles, or even other services, for
bottom-up citizen communities.
This chapter elaborates upon the maker movement and the corresponding access to digital fabrication techniques, while viewing intrinsic motivation, the unleashed ability to make and create, and the increased digital literacy and skillsets as key to successful inclusion and participation in society. Two social living labs driven by local youth communities in the Netherlands are reported in which we have activated hidden talents using the transformational role of digital fabrication. We introduce the designed platforms that steer bottom-up participatory innovation and social entrepreneurship, discuss the findings as well as the particular context and approaches used and elaborate upon lessons learnt for sustaining and scaling these communities of practice. In particular, we reflect on the value, opportunities, and guardrails relevant to keep in mind when promoting transformational social innovation through making and cocreative activities.
The “Maker Movement” signifies emergence of a cultural model of a society where anyone can become a creative maker. As part of this movement, various kinds of “Makerspaces” provide physical and social infrastructures that help unleash people’s intrinsic abilities to make, create, and innovate. In this way, makerspaces become loci where maker communities develop as communities of interest and communities of practice. In such communities, participants acquire skills and knowledge through selfdirected peer-learning and learning-by-doing, while leveraging each other’s practical expertise, individual motivations and enthusiasm. The presented work elaborates upon how maker communitieswithin academic design engineering education and everyday-life contexts could better support their participants’ self-directed learning. Throughout two independent researches through design case studies, we investigated how these learning processes could be improved. Both cases involved the iterative development and assessment of service platforms for supporting the social learning processes of makers. One platform focused on documenting and sharing skills of makers, the other on documenting and sharing the making processes leading to a given artefact. Reflecting on the two platforms revealed two distinct aspects of encountered learning. The first aspect involves deepeningand mutually encouraging development of individual expert skills. The second aspect involves multidisciplinary alignment during collaborations and peer-learning within a maker community, performed in teams encompassing complementary skills. The lessons learnt lead to proposing a conceptual framework, which aims to provide a support structure to improve self-directed social learning processes in makerspaces.
The paper "Rethinking Design: A Critical Perspective to Embrace Societal Challenges" has been presented in the opening panel of the symposium "Can Design Catalyse the Great Transition?" Ingrid Mulder and Derk Loorbach are thought leaders at the frontiers of systemic design and transition management, a field which has been developing in Northern Europe in recent years, and has now been integrated into Transition Design. This discourse focusses on the process and dynamics of transition of large-scale socio-technical systems (infrastructures, technologies, systems of consumption and production and related institutions) over long periods of time. Ingrid and Derk argue that we need to completely reinvent our socio-technical systems if we are to meet the challenge of moving towards more socially and ecologically sustainable futures. This presents “a collective societal design challenge...processes of societal experimentation, iteration, prototyping, and scaling ...guided by visions and future images [we need to] rethink design thinking and the design profession”. They discuss the Multi-Level Perspective, a tool for analysing how socio-technical regimes (such as energy, transport and food systems) come under pressure from ‘landscape’ events beyond their control, but can be penetrated and ultimately transformed by ‘niche’ experiments. This is a long-term, non-linear process that calls for a new, expanded way of designing that is orientated by future images and backcasting, and that looks to cultivate niches that may eventually develop to challenge regimes. This analysis is applied to design itself: niches need to be developed within the design regime, so that it undergoes “a transition toward a field of transition design”. In the context of the transition of socio- technical systems, the developing practice of participatory city making is discussed. This brings together transdisciplinary groups of “professional designers, academics, policy makers and citizens” to “combine top-down management with bottom up social innovation” who can collectively explore and develop radical, experimental, niche alternatives. It is clear from this paper that there are vital connections to be made between the realms of academic and professional design and the scholars and researchers within the Transitions Management field.