PhD project: Knowledge in user-oriented design practices

Signe Pedersen

The overall research topic for this PhD is representation and translation of knowledge in participatory design processes. One focus area is on public private innovation partnerships (PPIs) in a Danish healthcare context, where actors from private companies and public organisations such as hospitals are encouraged to co-design new products, systems and services. In such cases, the users become an active part of the design process as co-designers, which is a new way of staging design projects.

In most design and development projects, there is a challenge of representing and translating knowledge e.g. about future users and other actors in the value chain into the design process, and PPIs are no exception. When actors from different backgrounds and different domains are to collaborate and co-design new concepts there might be a clash in terms of which types of knowledge that counts. Qualitative knowledge based on semi-structured interviews and observations used in creative processes and quantitative knowledge from evidence-based studies conducted at hospitals, often stand in opposition to each other in such collaborations.

This PhD thesis seeks to investigate how knowledge is handled and translated during a design process to build up a stable network of actors around the new concepts to ensure successful design and innovation projects.