My research is aimed at the following two topics:
Human-centred & systemic design in a public sector innovation context
This research is aimed at developing and studying new methodologies, theories and practices for human-centred and systemic design in a public or social sector innovation context. When designing responses to complex societal problems such as an ageing population, radicalising youth, health issues and climate change, it is becoming increasingly popular to apply human-, user- or person-centred approaches. I am interested in what designers and public managers need to know about the variety of stakeholders in a problem to be able to design innovative solutions, and what kinds of methods, practices and theories contribute to translating these stakeholders insights into designs.
Design-based collaborative innovation in networked social problems
This research is focused on the collaborative element of design and systems-based approaches in a public or social sector innovation context. Complex societal problems are often networked, which means multiple stakeholders are affected by the problem and/ or contribute to solving the problem, for example, the mental health case study that I describe in this blog. These problems need to be addressed though cross-organisational or ‘cross-silo’ collaborations. It has quickly become popular to apply ‘co-design’ approaches for this purpose. However, there is still a need for a theoretical and methodological foundation to develop these social co-design processes.
I am particularly interested in collaborative innovation in the field of health and wellbeing. There is a growing acceptance of the social, environmental and economic determinants of (mental) health. This means that health is considered beyond a clinical or health perspective to its social context and that health can’t be dealt with in isolation. Cross-service providers and cross-disciplinary processes are required to achieve better health outcomes, for example through ‘integrated care’. My research focus is not so much on the outcomes of these processes, e.g. new models of care, but on the design process. Which stakeholders should participate and collaborate in these processes? What are effective collaborative innovation approaches? What is the role of design in these processes?