Author Archives: Niti Bhan

Theoretical background for contextualizing User Agency in Participatory Processes

Scandinavian participatory design practices are not distinguished by particular methods but rather by political commitments to societal concerns and relationships with participating users and communities. Pelle Ehn writes:`In the interest of emancipation, we deliberately made the choice of siding with workers and their organisations, supporting the development of their resources for a change towards democracy […]

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Disrupting the Default: Must it fall under “development” if the geography is Africa?

Where does it say that if the geography of the study or innovation or project is in Africa then it must be ‘development’? Is it Tuesday, that it must be Belgium? Will the ‘tyranny of dominant logic’ continue to hold us in thrall regardless of all the massive changes overtaking our world today; including the […]

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Scandinavian Approaches to Participatory Design: Simply a tradition or a coherent philosophy of design?

“Scandinavian participatory design approaches emphasise change and development, not only technological change and systems development, but change and development of people, organisations, and practices, occurring in changing socio-historical contexts.” Gregory, J. (2003). Scandinavian approaches to participatory design. International Journal of Engineering Education, 19(1), 62-74. Long ago, an essay I wrote on “Why is design important?” […]

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Design of Visual Sensemaking Tools for Informal Economy: Literature Review

Since I have long been exposed to the concept of sensemaking from the perspective of the synthesis phase of human centered design research, and design/innovation planning & concept development, I hadn’t thought to review the literature last year when building customized sensemaking tools for market women and vegetable vendors sourcing and supplying fresh vegetables in […]

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The power of sensemaking lies in its ability to reframe the challenge and its context

A key characteristic of participatory design is the use of physical artefacts as thinking tools throughout the process. This process is a key characteristic of the various participatory design practices emanating from the Scandinavian research-led tradition (e.g. Greenbaum and Kyng, 1991). As highlighted by Sanders (2006), users in participatory design serve as  “expert[s]of their experiences” […]

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Effective Toolmaking: Shifting the Mindset Away from that of “Expert”

The beauty of struggling with words and concepts in order to best articulate them in a manner that reflects one’s lived experience in practice is that one remains true to one’s search for songs of magic regardless of the themes of introspection. This realization has freed me from various self imposed constraints on my use […]

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The empowering nature of focused introspection

Moved to continue writing the Kalevala series*, I’m back to note that my decision taken a week ago to break up the pattern of daily morning blogging was the right one. The key here is not to fall into unthinking routines that then become discernible patterns but to keep things relatively unpredictable though not disruptive […]

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Facing the digital demons that eat your mind

After a challenging few days of contemplating the digital lint in my navel, my struggle right now is internal but not personal. My internet public persona has begun waking up after a long silence, thanks to the warming flow of words breaking the ice of silence after a particularly harsh winter. She wants to opinionate […]

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La petite tristesse de le numérique

There do not seem to be the words in English to capture the sense of loss I was experiencing by the time I’d reached the point where I concluded yesterday’s post. I cannot say finished writing it because I was moved by my own recollection of the emotions I’d experienced that I needed to get […]

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Reflections on Digitalization’s Impact on the Creative Process

My previous post seems to have triggered deeper reflections and responses than expected from a rapidly written rant on the loss of vocabulary. Are the gaps in my memory simply the signs of growing older, which indeed I must have done in the 16 years since I began this blog, or are the recent blank […]

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