||Wisdom of the Crowd: How Participatory Design has evolved Design Briefing
||Emma Murphy and David Hands
||Lancaster University, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
|Number of pages:
SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation/Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköping University, Sweden
||Swedish Design Research Journal
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Summary of case
This case example has discussed the significant and important role of the residents in determining a new all embracing vision for the Royds estates, that not only aims to reduce crime but to create a social and environmentally sustainable future for the residents.
Firstly, the input of Stephen Town, Architectural Liaison Officer, has been considerable in terms of driving consultation and the engagement of residents; secondly, Tony Dylak, Director of Royds Housing Association, his vision and ability to listen and support the wishes of the residents has been immense. Combined, it is suggested that the design briefing stages was the catalyst for change and the mutual sharing of vision.
The design briefing process provided a platform for all stakeholders to envision a future for the estates, providing a common ground for residents, the police, housing authorities and architects to meet, discuss and implement the wishes of everyone that embraces a crime-reduced future.
Referring back to the central focus of this paper, the 5 key drivers for participatory engagement are clearly explicit within the case discussion.
Firstly, the designer’s role within the initial briefing stages embraced a wider remit of responsibility. They carefully orchestrated a series of planned events to both appeal and entice the residents to the consultation ‘roadshows’.
Secondly, with the opportunity to meaningfully participate and be an equal part of the consultation process, the residents responded wholeheartedly to expressing their requirements and ambitions to reinforce positive changes within the design and development process. As such, this then leads us to the issue of blurring boundaries between the various domains of knowledge, which traditionally remained distinctly separate and isolated. With the erosion of these perceived ‘boundaries’ by the residents, they actively engaged through all stages of the project duration, often contributing specialist knowledge and experiential understanding of complex design considerations.
Conducive conditions to dynamic, participatory design briefing
Through exploration of the literature and empirical evidence, it could be argued that five key elements (or discreet variants of) are often found within ‘dynamic’ participatory design briefing; these may be surmised as follows:
1 – Design leadership: Design leadership is the ability to take an idea from inception right through to full implementation. However, leadership is the skillful ‘art’ of ensuring integrity and intent of the original idea is maintained and embedded within the final designed outcome (Cooper, Wootton, Hands, Daly and Bruce (2002). One key element of sensitive and intelligent leadership activity is the ability to reach out and engage diverse audiences under the aegis of one collective vision and unified purpose (Cooper et al, ibid).
2 – Flexible process: taking an idea from A to Z requires the ability and confidence of the design team / or sponsor to critically reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the approach to the design ‘task’. Through the utilisation and adoption of a flexible and ‘fluid’ design briefing process ‘change’ can be accommodated for and embraced as new information arises through continual dialogue, understanding and reflection. The necessity of a dynamic, bespoke process which adapts to the context further reinforces the need for engagement rather than following an off the shelf process or ‘going through the motions’.
3 - Clear purpose: This is crucial for the avoidance of project ‘creep’/ambiguity right at the initial stages of the design project. Clear purpose could be considered the manifestation of strategic intent providing a firm ‘focus’ to obtaining long term strategic objectives throughout all stages of project duration are met.
4 – Culture (energy, enthusiasm): Through clear and sensitive ‘leadership’ and the encouragement to take risks, all stakeholders within the briefing process can significantly contribute to the overall success of the project. By fostering a culture of creativity and enthusiasm, the benefits are considerable both in tangible and intangible outcomes. Again, one key determinant of this philosophy is through successful design leadership, and also the use of creative research methods.
5 – Designerly methods to engage the masses: design is both a verb and a noun. ‘To design…’ is equally as important as the designed outcome at the end of the project. The design team has many diverse and dynamic tools and techniques at their disposal to use throughout the differing stages of the design process. Through the careful combination and deployment of these techniques, invaluable information can be gleaned from a variety of differing sources (to read more about appropriate design methods in the literature see Sanoff (1983, 1991; Hanington and Martin, 2012).
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