25 April 2023 News

The value of design research

What if Lab actively supports designers and researchers in the field by contributing to relevant and impactful research. Therefore, we are happy to share the following two research projects that provide concrete tools for applying design research: Beyond Projects conducted by Shay Raviv and Building synergetic collaborations by Thomas van Arkel and Nynke Tromp.

Visual Essay: Beyond Projects

Why do some social design projects remain short-term interventions? How can we move beyond the symbolic implementation of promising ideas? Design researcher Shay Raviv, recently launched her visual essay: Beyond Projects. For this, she investigated which barriers in social design ensure that the continuity and further development of such projects are often limited. Her proposal? Five workable approaches to increase the sustainability of social design projects. We thank Shay for including several What if Lab cases.

Building synergistic collaborations: Collaborating across boundaries with public security organisations and creative makers

Public (security) organisations are increasingly collaborating with creative professionals. These collaborations are promising, yet also difficult and vulnerable. A closer, ongoing exchange between collaborators can greatly benefit the partnership. But how do you develop long-term, ongoing forms for collaboration in a context oriented towards purchasing and tendering, efficiency and end results? In this research, they undertake some initial steps towards developing working methods that support synergistic collaborations.

In this research, Thomas and Nynke looked at a number of Embassy Labs, which use the methodologies of What if Lab.

Knowledge- and work session: Design research on societal issues.

On Wednesday 3 May, Design Works (What if lab and World Design Embassies) is organising a knowledge and work session. Here, social designers and researchers Thomas van Arkel, Kornelia Dimitrova and Shay Raviv will share key insights from their studies. All three studies deal with design-based research on social issues and have led to concrete steps and recommendations for both designers and organisations working with designers. In the subsequent working session, we will build on these insights and explore concrete tools to apply design research in practice. How can we translate this into more effect and impact for new processes? What can your role be in this as a designer or client?

We share these two studies because we aim to contribute to knowledge development, and we had a supporting role in this. By sharing these results, we hope that designers, organisations and governments can learn from these research projects to ultimately increase their impact.