challenges conceived by design research clients

June 12, 2009 by

after each workshop I thought: Great process, but where did it get us and how do we reach our goal?

-Sounds familiar? Did any of your collaborators air similar concerns? Mikkel Ask collected a number of challenges for designanthropological innovation processes as they are conceived by particular anonymized clients.  See the pdf for more client-perspective challenges:

DAIM mapping the challenges of the client

Model presentations clips – DAIM Tool Seminar II

June 12, 2009 by

Video clips from DAIM Tool Seminar II group activity, with participants presenting their model:

Between Tools Seminar I and Tools Seminar II

June 12, 2009 by

A few ways that the challenges identified in the first seminar can be thought about and clustered are available to view in A4 sized .pdf format here

The Digital Design:Lab

May 5, 2009 by

In the end of March, we defended our Master’s thesis, The Digital Design:Lab (DDL), which was done as part of the DAIM project. You can read our abstract here, and download the full report (Danish). In case of questions or comments, please write to  Lene Nielsen: and Signe Louise Yndigegn:


Over the last decades, ethnographical and user-centred research methods have gradually become a fundamental part of the design process when designing digital products. This means that interaction designers have been faced with a great challenge and conflict of interests when striving to combine the commercial world’s often strict time schedules and optimized processes with the ethnographical methods aiming for deep and thorough understanding of the users and their contexts.

The primary objective of this thesis, therefore, is to examine how to develop a digital tool that meets the challenges that are in play when working in rapid and efficient design processes while, at the same time, involving relevant stakeholders and potential users.

The main part of the work with achieving this objective has been done within the Design Anthropological Innovation Model’s (DAIM) pilot project conducted at the Danish Design School. The DAIM project is focused on creating design processes with a strong user involvement that can be used in the daily design work in commercial companies. Our role in the DAIM project has been two-fold; on the one hand it can be characterized as active participation, and on the other hand as an apprenticeship.

Through the participation in the DAIM project the digital concept »Digital Design:Lab« (DDL) has been developed to support and strengthen design processes with a high degree of user involvement. It is therefore important to acknowledge that DDL is not a replacement for real-world user research, but rather a strong complement to these methods. DDL essentially is a web-based solution that enables and supports collaboration, knowledge sharing and documentation in design processes by effectively combining ethnographically inspired user research and participatory design workshops. DDL’s theoretical foundation is to be found in the areas of design ethnography and participatory design combined with relevant theory about online communities and involvement of users in public projects. In practice, DDL has been developed and refined through a series of trials within the DAIM project.

DDL’s main strengths and possibilities include:

  • Live-blogging using video, images, and text from face-to-face meetings with users, both in the private and public spheres (known as »blog on the spot« in this thesis), as well as in workshops.
  • Efficient sharing of material in multi-party design processes.
  • A visual collection of primarily images and videos, supplemented with limited amounts of text, that provides easily accessible material that can be implemented in the design process.
  • A mobile concept that can be brought out to the users in their context to support on-site research.
  • A platform for preparation and analysis of workshops.

The development of DDL shows that the web medium can contribute strongly to user- centred design processes, primarily by creating a social sphere where documentation and information flows are greatly enhanced. At the same time, this thesis shows that active and persistent user involvement in online platforms does not come by itself; it is resource-heavy and takes highly targeted and dedicated work by the designers.

Digitalt Design:Lab

DAIM Tool Seminar I report summary

April 22, 2009 by

map with challenges

Participants presented 3 challenges in post-its from their experiences in DAIM and other projects

mapping the challenges of the broader context

In groups, challenges and concerns were indentified from people’s everyday professional lives


Participants were divided into four groups and asked to map the challenges of the Golden Projects

Picture 1

Feedback about the Tool Seminar and suggestions on what to do with the framework

DAIM Tool Seminar I – Mapping the challenges of the design consultant / consultancy

April 22, 2009 by


The DAIM project kicked off phase II by putting a focus on the design of a DAIM Toolbox. Design consultants and design researchers are at the center of the DAIM toolbox ‘target group.’ The day’s activities continue the efforts to make explicit concerns and challenges of user-driven design practices. Members from all the DAIM partner bureaus were present (3Part, 1508, Ergonomidesign, Swedco, and Make Tools) as well as researchers from DKDS and SPIRE and guests. After the pilot study that focused on broad methodological explorations in numerous contexts with multiple stakeholders, the conditions at the bureaus favor  more refined and controllable methods to match the demands of their clients and work practices. The mapping activity allowed DAIM partners to work within a design consultant process framework. This was supported by using the working space of 1508. The day ended with the first draft of a map of challenges, some critiques of the framework, and a plan to move forward.

Challenge map V1: Find an excel file of the first draft of the map categories and questions here. We encourage people to take the map, work with it, and report back (show us clusterings, new categorizations, experiments with visualizations, more questions, etc). We plan to work further with these issues during the June 12th DAIM Tool Seminar.

Robb quickly dumped all the post-its in wordle ( and it came up with this image:


Confidentiality Agreement

Golden Projects Confidential: The planning and conducting of the golden project activities with the bureaus and their paying clients will stay locked behind the confidential veil. We provided project partners with a reminder ritual for confidentiality before the afternoon session by signing an agreement (see below).

Design Research Seminar w Liz Sanders

April 21, 2009 by


Yesterday Liz Sanders (MakeTools) gave a presentation at the Danish Design School for 60 (sixty!) people:

The “gap” between research and design practice:
Should we bridge it, fill it in or build on it?

The seminar explored the materials, tools, plans and mindsets for building on the gap at a variety of levels of scale and abstraction. The presentation sparked a lot of discussion and can be downloaded here

Hand-over: Inspiration in a box!

April 3, 2009 by


On the 2nd of April 2009 we handed over the DAIM pilot project deliverable to Vestforbrænding: “User-driven innovation in the waste sector: Inspiration in a box”. Obviously many people not on this photo contributed to the project, but the photo does capture the spirit of the reception: Central stakeholders at Vestforbrænding are excited about the potential of working with user-driven innovation, and Dan pulled out bottles of cava to celebrate the moment. Cheers!

The others have left the office…

April 1, 2009 by

…so I am free to take a phone shot of the boxed deliverable and sneak it out for you to enjoy before the official release tomorrow…

Mocking up and Dramatization

March 26, 2009 by

The picture is from Herlev on a cold day full of enthusiasm from participating citizens, a retail shop, the caretaker, the municipality, and  designers from 1508, 3PART and DKDS. See the video of the enacted future scenario at!