In a previous short paper I suggested that it might be useful in a collaborative design process for a person to have not only the opportunity to define in what activities she/he wants to participate, but also as who (Neubauer, 2019). Knowledge and expertise is ascribed to professional roles and positions. Through the ascribing of job roles to activities, and through the ordering of activities in chronological design processes, relations are put into place between people which may effect constraints and possibilities for them. As an example I have previously described how when designers deal with the human aspect of a task before handing the task to a software engineer for technical consideration, there is a constraint in executing the task for the engineer, while there are many possibilities in interpreting user needs for the designer (ibid). The designer is here related to the human aspect (as the designer’s knowledge is understood to be human-centred) and the engineer is related to the technical aspect (as the engineer’s knowledge is understood to be technical). When the human aspect is defined to take priority over the technical aspect in the design process, a constraint is introduced for the engineer.

For this research, we have defined roles in the research plan:

  • Design educators and researchers
  • Design practitioner novices
  • Expert design practitioners

The roles ascribed to individual people participating cannot be assumed to naturally ‘be’ as they are viewed by the lead researchers writing the research plan. In the consent form detailing the participation in this research, we therefore ask in what role the person wants to contribute. However, it can be assumed that roles manifest through more than only forms that are filled out, and research plans. Therefore, a ‘freedom’ in choosing the role of contribution is surely never fully given. But a reflection on roles is necessary, and through this, shifts may become a possibility.

Ruth Neubauer (2019): Design Thinking: From Individual Thinking Towards a Technohuman Reconfiguration. In: Proceedings of the 17th European Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work: The International Venue on Practice-centred Computing and the Design of Cooperation Technologies – Demos and Posters, Reports of the European Society for Socially Embedded Technologies (ISSN 2510-2591), DOI: 10.18420/ecscw2019_p06