My research interests span the fields of human-centred design and social design innovation. Human-centred design (HCD) is a group of methods and principles that are aimed at designing useful, usable, pleasurable and meaningful products or services for people. Social design innovation is the application of methods borrowed from the design field to innovate on complex societal problems. As such there is a large overlap between the two fields.
Within both areas we can distinguish methodologies and methods. Methods are procedures for approaching or accomplishing something. They are often described in a step-by-step mode. Methodologies are the systemic, theoretical analysis of the methods applied to a field of study. As such methodologies often relate to many methods. They can serve as a ‘backbone’ for a specific approach.
In the HCD field I have gained expert knowledge in the methodologies of ‘Scenario Based Design’ and ‘Design for dynamic and diverse use situations’. A specific method I developed is the ‘Envisioning Use technique’, which I developed together with Stella Boess and Christelle Harkema. The majority of my HCD expertise and knowledge stems from my research on and with design teams in the Netherlands.
In the Social design innovation field I have expertise in the Frame Creation methodology developed by professor Kees Dorst. Furthermore, I have contributed to the development of the Frame Creation workshop, which is a specific method within the methodology. I have gained this expertise more recently through working with Kees Dorst and people working in the public sector in Australia.
A key element of my recent research has been the development of a four-layer model of insights into human Needs and Aspirations for Design and Innovation (NADI). The model can be applied in both the HCD and Social Innovation field to reflect on the types of insights that are gathered through the various methods within the fields.