Category Archives: Design Methodology

Exploratory study of the literature of information architecture

By | November 25, 2022

I introduce the idea of Multi-sensory cognitive justice, and make a case for it through a synthesis of the literature available on information architecture. Given that I was standing there when the field was born as a professional occupation with its own association etc I think I can navigate my way back to the beginning… Read More »

Reflections on my doctoral study: A midpoint review

By | March 31, 2022

Earlier this week, I submitted reports and work plans to the doctoral committee, a compulsory requirement – it is a Go/No Go stage where one’s progress on the journey to the PhD is evaluated from the perspective of viability and feasibility of my candidacy, as it stands now. If asked to prepare this work plan… Read More »

Revisiting Design Thinking: Pondering the process and principles

By | October 11, 2021

I have not written on design thinking in more than a decade. The era when I’d be cited in Fast Company or Rita Sue Siegel’s handbook on Industrial Design careers is long gone. Which one of these definitions should I use going forward? “Design thinking in business takes this problem solving aspect one step further… Read More »

One year anniversary of experimenting with design and innovation tools for vegetable vendors in Nairobi’s slums

By | July 7, 2021

Felix Omondi, our lead innovation facilitator, reminds me today that its the one year anniversary of the first participatory design workshop held with mama mbogas in Mathare, one of Nairobi’s informal settlements. Categorized by us as the “tomato group” of B2C (business to consumer) vegetable vendors (mama mboga in colloquial swahili), these 8 ladies were… Read More »

Situating sensemaking in the process of innovation

By | May 25, 2021

“the bottom-line goal of Sense-Making from its inception has been to find out what users – audiences, customers, patrons, employees – ‘really’ think, feel, want, dream” (Dervin, 1998) Morente & Ferràs (2018) paper, based on the practical and theoretical contributions of Brenda Dervin’s Sense-Making Theory (2015), provided me with this quoted reference that set me… Read More »

Exploratory User Research to Inform and Inspire Innovation Frontiers: Nokia’s legacy

By | May 24, 2021

Swedberg (2020) offers a glimpse of the legacy of an exploratory approach to research. The reasons for using such an approach, based on his analysis, are: The empirical situation makes it necessary to use an exploratory approach. Swedberg (2020) gives the example of a study conducted in 1937 by Lazarsfeld & Stouffer on the effects… Read More »

Theoretical background for contextualizing User Agency in Participatory Processes

By | April 12, 2021

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… Read More »

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

By | April 10, 2021

“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?”… Read More »

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

By | April 8, 2021

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”… Read More »

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

By | April 7, 2021

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… Read More »