Taking a hiatus

October 5th, 2017

I’m taking a hiatus from this site for a while. The move away from personal blogs has come and gone! You can now find me mostly on other social media platforms or project specific websites that are more targeted. After all, we all have multiple professional identities which is best served through dedicated platforms.

Here is a list of where to find me:


Research papers and outputs

Books published
Interaction Design: From Concept to Completion (2018)
Transformations: 7 Roles to Drive Change by Design (2017)
Design Transitions: Global stories of how design practices are changing (2013)
Routledge Companion to Design Research (2015)

Research projects
Design and Social Innovation in Asia-Pacific (DESIAP) (since 2015)
Valuing Design: Mapping design impact and value in public and 3rd sector organisations (2014)

Design Transitions Book is OUT

October 10th, 2013


I am very excited to announce that the 2 year project with Emma Jefferies and Lauren Tan has finally come to fruition. It started as the Design Transitions project and have now become the Design Transitions book. We have collected an amazing array of 42 (a magic number of course) stories from designers, design academics and design champions in non-design organisations to help us tell the story of how design is changing. The book is already available in The Netherlands, from the Publisher’s website. It will be available in the UK on the 16th of October and on pre-order on various online sites such as Amazon UK and US. There is  42 page extract of the book on ISSU as well.

I would like to take this opportunity to say a massive thank you to our generous contributors who have given up their time to share their stories with us. Not to mention, it has been a pleasure working with Emma and Lauren, and the one lesson (of many that I will take away from this project) is that to always work with people you like! Duh — pretty obvious but unfortunately does not happen often enough. Below is a brief summary of the book and also the list of contributors involved.

Book Sypnosis
Design Transitions presents 42 unique and insightful stories of how design is changing around the world. Twelve countries are represented from the perspectives of three different communities: design agencies, organizations embedding design; and design academics. The range of design disciplines covered include Design Innovation, Service Design, Social Design, Products Futures & Design Art.

We have an amazing list of contributors and practices sharing their stories. Here is the full list:
Droog / BERG / Superflux / PHUNK / Fjord / live|work Brazil / User Studio / WorkPlayExperience / thinkpublic / FutureGov / We Are What We Do / Snook / Uscreates / STBY / Hakuhodo Innovation Lab / DesignThinkers Group / Idiom / INSITUM / Optimal Usability / frog Asia / designaffairs Shanghai / Claro Partners / Asilia / Zilver Innovation / Ziba

Novabase / ISVOR / Radboud REshape / InWithFor & The Australian Centre for Social Innovation (TACSI) / Minas Gerais Office of Strategic Priorities

Robert Young / Tom Inns / Banny Banerjee / Paul Rodgers / Mike Press / Lucy Kimbell / Carlos Teixeira / Ezio Manzini / Cameron Tonkinwise / Andrea Siodmok / Xin Xiangyang / Adam Greenfield

Social Design Examples and Resources

October 19th, 2012

A few students have approached me and asked about their final projects and where to look for ideas on their final project. So I thought it would be useful to share my list of useful resources and examples in the area of social design for anyone interested in working in this area.

Professor Mike Press from Dundee University recently posted a very useful list of resources for anyone interested in social design. His article provides a lot of context to understanding society and how design can play a role in this area.

There are various sectors to look at: Healthcare, Transport, Community, etc. I suggested to my students to look at the Royal Society of Arts’s (RSA) lectures and briefs to give some guidance on topics and possible areas to tackle. They have reports on various issues that design could help with.

You can also find challenges through places like OpenIdeo – which is a crowdsourcing platform set up by the global consultancy IDEO to source new ideas to challenges that they have identified.

Areas like Healthcare have also been looked at by the design community for quite a while now, initially through the more traditional design routes like product and interior design but increasing through service innovation. The area of ageing is an issue a few researchers have been tackling in my school.

You can find examples and information of projects in the area of social design through these links.

— upcoming book published by Rosenfield Media, authored by Peter Jones
Experience-based Design
project by thinkpublic
RED projects
by the Design Council
Personhood in Dementia
— a research project by Dr. Jayne Wallace from Northumbria University

Community based issues:
Shapedbyus — this is a beta website set up and supported by Cornwall council to collect and resolve issues that affect communities in Cornwall. They are looking to roll this out to the whole of UK if the pilot phase is successful.

DOTT07 and DOTT Cornwall
DOTT stands for Design of the Times and was series of public engagement projects supported and funded by the Design Council . The first one was held in the North East of England in 2007, and the second one in Cornwall in 2009.

— stands for Design for Social Innovation & Sustainability Network. This linke features social innovation and sustainability projects from around design schools from around the world.

Design Againts Crime DAC is a practice-led design research project that emerged at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (CSM).

This is not a comprehensive list, but its a start. If you have any projects or links that you would like me to add to my list, please add them to the comments list below.

Call for contribution to Design Research book

March 29th, 2012

My colleague, Professor Paul Rodgers, and I are writing a textbook provisionally titled “Design Research” to be published by a leading UK-based publisher late next year aimed at undergraduate and postgraduate students.

We wish to include top quality, original, speculative, provocative, evocative and/or innovative contributions in this book from the global design research community. We are looking for contributions that will fit under one or more of the following headings:

What is design research?
•    The Nature and Process of Design Research (including the history of design research)
•    The Purpose of Design Research (i.e. about / for / through / generative / formative / evaluative)
•    Research Approaches (ontology and epistemology)

How do we embark on design research?
•    Formulating Research Questions
•    Conducting a Literature Search and Review
•    Developing a Research Plan

How do we conduct design research?
•    Asking Questions (e.g. novel sampling approaches)
•    Data Collection Methods (e.g. generative / formative / evaluative)
•    Analysing Information
•    Ethical Issues

How do we communicate design research?
•    Writing Techniques
•    Writing for Your Audience
•    Publicising Your Research

Examples of design research
•    Case Studies – How We Embark on Design Research
•    Case Studies – How We Conduct Design Research
•    Case Studies – How We Communicate Design Research

In the first instance, we wish to solicit contributions from interested authors in the form of a one page summary (circa 300 to 400 words) by Monday 7 May, 2012. We wish to celebrate the plurality of design research and also the wide range of conceptual, methodological, technological and theoretical approaches evident in contemporary design research.  We wish to receive contributions from the vast array of disciplines in and around modern design praxis including, but not limited to, the following:

Industrial design
Product design
Visual communication
Interaction design
Fashion design
Social design
Jewellery design
Design theory
Design ethnography
Social sciences
Life sciences
Critical design

We would especially like to receive contributions that view themselves as inter-disciplinary, cross-disciplinary, multi-disciplinary, trans-disciplinary, and / or anti-disciplinary in nature.

For more information please contact the editors:

Professor Paul Rodgers and Dr Joyce Yee
Northumbria University, School of Design
{paul.rodgers@northumbria.ac.uk; joyce.yee@northumbria.ac.uk}

Iridescent Publication

December 21st, 2011

The first volume of Iridescent: Icograda Journal of Design Research has just been published. The joint paper that I wrote with Emma Jefferies and Kath McKelvey on the Design Collaboration project is included in this journal. The publication was launched during the Icograda General Assembly 24 in Taipei on 27 October 2011 and can be downloaded as PDF.

Design Transitions Project

December 21st, 2011

I am currently working on a project with Emma Jefferies (@dremmajefferies), ’Design Transitions’ which seek to capture and share inspirational stories of how design companies practices are evolving. We are on the hunt to capture new and untold stories from across the globe in order to compile it into a book. We are looking for practices who are challenging the traditional notions of designing and are operating in new design spaces.

If you know of design companies with inspirational practices and their stories not been told yet we would love to hear about them – all you need to do is comment on this page.

Follow us on our journey through @DesTransitions twitter account. We are also working on a website that will soon be up in January 2012.

ServDes: 2nd Nordic Service Design Conference

April 15th, 2010

ServDes Website

The 2nd Nordic Service Design (renamed Service Design and Innovation conference) conference website was launched last month. I thoroughly enjoyed last year’s conference held at AHO, Oslo last year and am hoping to attend again this year at Linkoping, Sweden. The deadline for full paper submissions is on the 19th of June.

’The topic for this year’s conference is ExChanging Knowledge. ServDes invites contributions from researchers and practitioners that wish to contribute to the development of a knowledge base on service design, and openly discuss challenges of the field’.

Design Collaboration Paper published in Icograda’s new journal

April 15th, 2010

Just a quick note to mention that the paper that I co-wrote with Emma Jefferies and Kathryn McKelvey is now published on ICOGRADA’s new online journal, Iridescent. This paper was presented at the previous ICOGRADA’s Design Education in Beijing, October 2009. Its great to finally see the paper published and available for people to access. Any comments, please email me.

Nordic Service Design Conference – pictures and comments

November 29th, 2009

Just got back from the First Nordic Service Design conference in Olso. See my previous post. Here are a few pictures from the workshop session ’Challenges in Digital Service Provision’. It was a joint workshop between myself, Teresa Sarmento from ESAD and Lars Georg Teigen, Johan-Christian Høgåsen-Hallesby from Second Brain.

I really enjoyed the conference, it felt like the most ’designed’ experience of a conference I have ever been to — which is apt as it is a conference on Service Design. I was very impressed by the fact that when I arrived at the hotel, a welcome package was waiting for me in my room — saving me the trouble of needing to register and pick up my conference pack. The organisers also thought about what to include in the pack, a tongue-in-cheek response to that fact that its very dark and damp in Oslo at this time of the year. So, they included a pair of ’swims’ galoshes which are shoes that you wear over your nice shoes to keep them from getting wet. They also included a reflective band that can be worn over your wrist to ensure that you are seen in the dark. Qin Han was right in saying that ’cards’ are the new black of the service design world. A pack of service touchpoints cards was included in the package which was produced by the At-ONE project.

I’ve also included some pictures from the conference dinner, or shall I say do-it-yourself social cooking event! They held the meal/cooking at the School of Gastronomy, somewhere in Oslo..and got the participants to cook a tapas dish. I’ve never seen so many people in a kitchen before — it was organised chaos. But it worked brilliantly — everyone had a go, some participated more, some hang back and chatted. And the best thing was, everyone enjoyed themselves! It was a brilliant idea! I might steal it…but probably wont work in England due to the ridiculous Health and Safety regulations. Too many people, too many sharp objects and wine in the vicinity.

This was the first dedicated service design conference that I attended and was useful in terms of the issues discussed, as well as observing who was turning up for these type of events. Not sure if this is true…but Simon Clatworthy mentioned that this could be the first dedicated peer-reviewed service design conference. It was also interesting to observe that the number of designers from a viscomm/graphic design background is equally represented compare to product/interaction designer. There was also a paper stream looking specifically on visualisations in service design. The conference has also help clarified thoughts about skills and audience of a service design programme. It seems that many other institutions are at that stage where they are deciding whether or not to develop a specific MA programme in service design.

The issues that was discussed seem to revolve around the areas of understanding the heritage of service design, what can be learn from other forerunners like Participatory Design, Interaction Design etc, to the more predictable areas of methods and tools. There was also a strong branding presence in relation to the design of services. Most of the case studies presented seemed much more business orientated than social projects, which I found surprising seeing that there was a heavy Scandinavian presence where I would expect more social aspects of service design to dominate.

One last word – the next Nordic Service Design Conference will be held next year at Linkoping University, Sweden. I’ll post the link when the call for papers becomes live.

Nordic Service Design Conference

November 22nd, 2009

I’m very excited as I will be going to the first Nordic Service Design Conference at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design. I’ll be facilitating a joint workshop with Teresa Sarmento from ESAD, Portugal and Lars Teigen from Second Brain. The 3 position papers for our particular workshop (Challenges in the Digital Service Provision) can be found on this page. Scroll down to Day 2 – Crossover Day. Specifically, the paper that I co-wrote with Lauren Tan, a PhD student from Northumbria University and Phillip Meredith, my KTP associate working in Zodiac Training can be downloaded here. It is based heavily on Lauren’s seven archetype of designer roles which has been derived from her analysis of the DOTT07 projects. We were using her seven archetypes to reflect on Phil’s experience in designing and delivering an e-learning service at Zodiac Training, a training delivery company in the North East of England.