A critical artefact methodology : Using provocative conceptual designs to foster human-centred innovation.

BOWEN, Simon John. (2009). A critical artefact methodology : Using provocative conceptual designs to foster human-centred innovation. Doctoral, Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

This research develops a rationale for using provocative conceptual designs to foster the innovation of human-centred product ideas --- a 'critical artefact methodology'. This research employed similar tactics to Action Research (Swann 2002): cycles of action (using critical artefact methods in design projects) and reflection on that action (including a contextual review of existing theories and practices), which produced action (product ideas) as well as research (a proposed critical artefact methodology). In two projects, I used sets of workshops where stakeholders' engaged with my critical artefacts to develop my understanding of their needs. Living Room (designing the home for 'tomorrow's older people') suggested how my methods might be improved then taken account of in Digital Mementos (designing novel mementos for increasingly digital lifestyles), including selecting productive participants --- stakeholders in-tune with the possibilities of novel situations, such as von Hippel's "lead users" (1986).Within participatory design and co-design I position critical artefact methods as using stakeholder participation to inform design activity rather than as co-creation. In reference to Ehn & Kyng's mock-ups (1991) and Gaver's cultural probes (1999) exemplars, I show that critical artefacts do not fit the description of 'prototypes' (suggestive of design direction or destination) and that my critical artefact methodology depends upon a progression from presenting stakeholders with critical artefacts (that provoke critical reflection) towards more 'prototypical' artefacts expressing relevant needs (for evaluation).I suggest that critical design (Dunne 1999) and related design practices have similar characteristics and operation to Critical Theory: a view that the status quo (generally affirmed by design) somehow 'oppresses' society; that 'enlightenment' of the factors underlying this 'emancipates' society and is facilitated by a reading of critiques (alternative proposals such as critical artefacts). In my critical artefact methodology the designer develops their understanding by designing artefacts to 'process' stakeholders' engagement with previous artefacts. I use Polanyi's notion of "indwelling" (1966) to support this method of empathic knowledge sharing. Designer's and stakeholders' co-reading of critical artefacts means that this understanding can be of future or latent stakeholders needs; it enables them to explore alternative needs, wants/desires, practices and products by broadening their understanding of what is possible. The contributions of this research are a critical artefact methodology supported by critical artefact methods; a more instrumental use of critical artefacts than other critical design practices; and (in Digital Mementos' outputs) exemplar findings demonstrating the value of a critical artefact methodology's application. Whilst this thesis presents a 'point in time' in my methodology's development, I intend that it provide designers with insights into similar techniques within their own professional practice.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Additional Information: Thesis (Ph.D.)--Sheffield Hallam University (United Kingdom), 2009.
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 17:18
URI: http://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19376

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