Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
2.d 2/2: Power and Politics in Design for Transition
Friday, 21/Jun/2019:
2:00pm - 3:40pm

Session Chair: joanna boehnert
Session Chair: Matthew Sinclair
Location: LDN.103
1st floor Loughborough University London 55 capacity

Session Abstract

This track contributes to the emerging field of Transition Design (also known as Design for Transitions) with a focus on the politics of transition, and design’s potential to shift, redirect and transform power relations to achieve sustainability. Transition design is an expanded conception of design, drawing on cross-disciplinary debates from ecological, feminist, post-humanist and decolonial theory to inform sociotechnical systems-oriented design practice at all scales. It has sought to develop inclusive theory to enable ethical and justice-oriented design as a means to address the reproduction of social injustices by design. Moving away from traditional user-centred design to more participatory paradigms, transition design situates the user in the context of larger socio-political and ecological systems. With this perspective, Transition Design integrates system innovations and transitions theories, social practice theory and sustainability science, and builds on the approaches of Design for Sustainability, Service Design and Design for Social Innovation, engaging with the disciplines that describe human relationships in society and the environment such as anthropology, sociology, politics, environmental sciences, science and technology studies, etc. We are inviting papers dealing with theory, case studies, or a combination of both, which cover aspects of this approach to design research, for example:
• Alternative models for the organisation of design practice for transition
• Design practices for the re-organisation of socio-ecological and politico-economic relationships
• Design projects aiming to shift power relations, with a sustainability focus
• Tools and methods for designers working in the area of transitions on issues of controversy
We welcome papers focused on the politics of design for sustainable transitions on all scales.

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2:00pm - 2:25pm

The influence of design thinking tools on NGO accountability

Ledia Andrawes1, Adela J McMurray2, Gerda Gemser2

1University College London; 2RMIT University

There is continued criticism regarding the over-reliance on donor-centred accountability mechanisms in aid projects. Conversely, there is increasing interest in Design Thinking as an approach to support greater beneficiary-centred accountability. Accountability can be conceptualised as ‘felt’ virtue which privileges internal motivations of decision-makers; and as ‘imposed’ mechanism which privileges externally enforced structures on decision-makers. However, there is limited understanding about whether Design Thinking tools can influence the accountability of decision-makers. This participatory action research study utilised semi-structured interviews and observations. The analysis revealed decision-makers perceived two tools, being Personas and Journey Maps, as having influenced their ‘felt’ accountability. Suggestions on how the tools may be contributing to the ‘felt’ accountability of decision-makers include: building a shared picture among diverse groups, humanising complex information, grounding discussions in realities, and deepening empathy. This study contributes to extant literature by showing that Design Thinking can enhance, decision-makers’ ‘felt’ accountability through new sense-making practices and tools.

Track 2.d-The influence of design thinking tools on NGO accountability-258Andrawes_a.pdf

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