Research through Design is the designerly contribution to the creating of new knowledge. Knowledge that can be used by others. And brought about by designerly interventions such as speculating about the future, making prototypes, and engaging with complexity and ambiguity without necessarily trying to ‘box them in’.
Research through Design
Over the past decade design has grown into a scientific discipline, which is not only worthy as an object of study, but is also offering a unique contribution to the ways new knowledge can be produced. Research through Design (RtD) falls in that latter offer, with the core contribution of opening a not-yet-existing future by making and [using] prototypes and other artefacts.
These new ways of doing research involve embracing complexity and ambiguity, reframing the object of study during a project, and often working with a broad set of stakeholders in different roles. This offers a number of challenges to the way research projects are organized, planned, and funded.
For example, what are the criteria by which a RtD proposal should be judged? How can practitioners (e.g., design agencies) be involved during the project, if they are not in the role of researchers, and yet provide essential value to the design actions? What forms of deliverables and dissemination should be expected? How can a project be re-arranged when a re-framing requires new parties to take part in the collaboration? How do these needs fit the current disciplinary spectrum of funding institutions?
Pieter Jan Stappers
Pieter Jan Stappers is Professor of Design Techniques Delft University of Technology, Industrial Design Engineering. His research focuses on emancipating the role of users in the doing of design, and of designers in the doing of research. Together with Liz Sanders at MakeTools.com, USA, and Froukje Sleeswijk Visser at TU Delft he works at contextmapping techniques and participatory design. Over the past two decades he has researched, written, and taught about the roles of design skills, methods, visualisation and prototyping in the bringing about of new designs and new knowledge. Together with Elisa Giaccardi he reviewed the Research through Design (RtD) literature, and co-chairs the RtD conference 2019.
Janneke van Kersen
Janneke van Kersen is coordinator of the Social Science and Humanities research for the so called 'topsectoren' (industrial bound research) and the National Science Agenda (Societal bound research). In the context of these programming activities she focusses on research methods as ' artistic research' and 'research through design'. She was responsible for the development of the Research through Design programme together with officers from the NWO (the Dutch Science foundation) domain for technical and applied sciences. From the early '90's on she has been working in the field of creative industries either within universities, cultural institutions or the national government always advocating a strong role for digital humanities, arts and design research.
Kees Dorst is Professor of Design Innovation at the University of Technology Sydney’s Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation, and the founding director of the Design Innovation Research Centre. Over the course of his academic career he has co-founded four new University departments/schools and faculties. He has published many articles and several books – including ‘Understanding Design’ (2003, 2006) and ‘Design Expertise’ (2009), with Bryan Lawson. His most recent books are 'Frame Innovation - create new thinking by design' (2015) ‘Designing for the Common Good’ (2016) and ‘Notes on Design’ (2017). He is currently also a member of the Advisory Group for the UN Development Program, overseeing the creation of platforms around the world to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Paul Hekkert is full professor of Form Theory at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft Universtiry of Technology. Paul conducts research on the ways products impact human experience, values and behavior. In 2011 he received a personal research grant (VICI) from the Dutch Science foundation (NWO) to develop a Unified Model of Aesthetics. Paul was member of a committee of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences for developing a research assessment protocol for design and engineering disciplines. He is co-founder and former chairman of the Design and Emotion society and former chairman of the executive board of CRISP, a national collaborative research initiative for and with the Dutch creative industries. He is currently member of the Dutch Creative Council and captain of science of the Top Sector Creative Industries.
Christine De Lille
Christine De Lille leads the Innovation Networks research group at The Hague University of Applied Sciences, the Netherlands in combination with her work at the faculty of Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology. Her research interests lie in design material in systems, designing organisations and role of design in research from a broad multi-disciplinary background combining both applied and fundamental research. Christine is member of the core-team of the Network for Applied Design Research, is a board member of the Design Management Network and has facilitated the NWO Research through Design projects in reflecting on their results.