Transformative practices squad

Transformative practices squad

Transformative Practices (TP) considers the transformations of our societies, dealing with major societal issues, local challenges for social resilience, or everyday activities, as well as their interrelations. Envisioning transformative practices, we question through designing the how, who, why and what of design for these major societal issues.

TP aims at sharing knowledge and sparking collaborations. Since the TP squad is not merely focusing on doing projects, but on learning together to become transformative designers, we are specifically looking for students to join our squad and community, who are interested in experimenting with our underlying philosophy and approach.

In the TP squad, the projects we run are formed from a combination of elements within three main categories: theories, approaches and application areas. For more information, you can explore here these different elements.

Connectivity vs connectedness

Jun Hu
The use of technology to connect each other (coined as connectivity) should be differentiated from being socially connected with others (both the feeling and rality, coined connectedness). The designing with/for connectivty had the original vision to enrich connectedness. Reality seems to get further and further away of this vision.
If connectedness and connectivity should coincide, how shall we design differently with/for connectivity?
It is a vision inviting to work towards one of the actual primary goals of connecting technology, which seems to have got lost in the process.
Bel, Daniel & Smolders, Karin & Ijsselsteijn, Wijnand & De Kort, Yvonne. (2009). Social connectedness: Concept and measurement. 67-74. doi: 10.3233/978-1-60750-034-6-67.
T. van Boheemen, and J. Hu, “Influence of Interactivity on Social Connectedness,” Social Computing and Social Media, Lecture Notes in Computer Science Series, 8531, G. Meiselwitz, ed., pp. 59-66: Springer International Publishing, 2014. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-07632-4_6

Distributed Cognition

Javed Khan
Distributed cognition is an approach to cognitive science research that deploys models of the extended mind (see, for example, the paper The Extended Mind) by taking as the fundamental unit of analysis “a collection of individuals and artifacts and their relations to each other in a particular work practice

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distributed_cognition
“when cognition is studied in the wild it is apparent that it is best studied not as an individualistic mental phenomenon or information process- ing occurring inside the head of a solitary thinker. Instead, it is necessary to consider cognition as a joint activity involving several agents, some human and others technological.”
Peter C. Wright , Robert E. Fields & Michael D. Harrison (2000) Analyzing Human-Computer Interaction as Distributed Cognition: The Resources Model, Human-Computer Interaction, 15:1, 1-41, DOI: 10.1207/S15327051HCI1501_01
Hutchins, Edwin (1995). Cognition in the Wild. MIT Press. ISBN 978-0-262-58146-2.

Embodied interaction

Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels
Embodied interaction is a term originally coined by Paul Dourish (2001) which refers to products, objects, conversations, actions etc. that unfold in the world and are meaningful in the social and physical world. We have the ability to use our body to interact with technology in a natural way. We perceive the world in terms of what we can do with it, in terms of our skills, especially our perceptual-motor and social skills. Designing for embodied interaction is based on these principles and results in designs that are ‘inherently meaningful’.
According to Kia Hook, professor at KTH, Sweden “ID has a unique, well-recognised focus on embodied interaction, with strong theoretical groundings while still being practice-led, and with a firm focus on aesthetics.” Also, the philosophy of transformative practices is based on embodied-situated theories and embodied interaction. Having an understanding of these underlying concepts, helps you designing embodied interactions.
Hook, K., Jonsson, M., Stahl, A., Tholander, J., Robertson, T., Marti, P., … Khut, G. (2016). Move to be moved. In CHI EA ’16 Proceedings of the 2016 CHI Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 3301-3308). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Hummels, C., and Van Dijk, J. (2015). Seven principles to design for embodied sensemaking. In TEI’15 Proceedings of the 9th international conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 21-28). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Van Dijk, J., and Hummels, C. (2017). Designing for Embodied Being-in-the-World: Two Cases, Seven Principles and One Framework. In: Proceedings of the 11th International conference on tangible, embedded and embodied interaction (pp. 47-56), New York, NY: ACM Press.
Djajadiningrat, J., Overbeeke, C., & Wensveen, S. (2002). But how, Donald, tell us how? on the meaning of interaction design through feedforward and inherent feedback. In: N. MacDonald (Ed.), DIS ’02 Proceedings of the 4th conference on designing interactive systems: processes, practices, methods, and techniques, (pp. 285-291). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Everyday rituals

Pierre Lévy
The everyday is in the fluidity of the present moment, in what is apparently insignificant and therefore hardly noticeable and memorable. It contains what has become known and habitual, by force of quotidianisation, and enables to live peacefully in a domesticated environment. Questioning it is therefore difficult. But the everyday is also a space of openness, when the anticipated does not happen as expected. The everyday integrates its own possibility of change through irregularities. The everyday ritual is a specific form of everyday experience because it gives everyday practices a space for attention and is formed with the aim of a conscious emotional appreciation of one’s experience and related values. The designer inquires the “texture” of such moment by the organisation of the space, the choice of objects, of gestures and practices… leading to the expression and the experience of related values.
It appears that design is hardly questioning the banal, the things of the everyday. Questioning everyday rituals helps to gain skill to deal with complexity in details, which creates richness in our everyday lives. It also helps to gain sensitivity on the importance of details and the beauty of the ordinary.
Levy, P. D. (2018). The beauty of making hot chocolate: An inquiry on designing for everyday rituals. In Proceedings of the DRS 2018: Catalyst (Vol. 5., pp. 339-348). London, UK: Design Research Society.
Levy, P. D. (2018). Le temps de l’expérience: enchanter le quotidien par le design. (Mémoire d’Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches, Compiègne, France). Retrieved from https://research.tue.nl/en/publications/the-time-of-experience-enchanting-the-everyday-through-design

Intersubjectivity – second person perspective

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There are many takes on intersubjectivity. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in experiences as shared between multiple people. How are technologically mediated experiences and practices shaped by social interactions/intersubjectivity not only from the outside, but also ‘from within’ the mediated experience and/or practice itself? And how do technologies mediate our relations with the other?
Exploring the topic of intersubjectivity will make you wiser when it comes to understanding how humans experience each other through a design. What kind of social worlds are formed when a design is being interacted with?
Zahavi, D. (2001). Beyond Empathy: Phenomenological approaches to intersubjectivity. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 8(5-6), 151-167.
Kohák, E. (2003). An Understanding Heart. In C. Brown and T. Toadvine (Eds.), Eco-phenomenology: Back to the earth itself. Albany, NY: SUNY Press.

Irregularity

Pierre Lévy
The irregularity, inspired from Japanese aesthetics, is when “there remains something unexplained” that neither perfection nor deliberate or premeditated distortion can achieve (Yanagi, 2013). The experience is beautiful because irregularity brings a moment of uncertainty, of openness, and therefore of freedom and possibilities of changes.
Because it is a beautiful concept.
Yanagi, S. (2013). The unknown craftsman: A Japanese insight into beauty. Tokyo, Japan: Kodansha International.
Lévy, P., & Yamada, S. (2017). 3D-modeling and 3D-printing explorations on Japanese tea ceremony utensils. In TEI 2017 – Proceedings of the 11th International conference on tangible, embedded, and embodied interaction (pp. 283-288). New York, NY: ACM Press.

Participatory sensemaking

Cindy van den Bremen
Participatory Sensemaking (De Jaegher & Di Paolo, 2007), is a theory which explains sensemaking as continuous embodied interactions between people in a shared action space. Sensemaking is the natural activity of an organism that tries to sustain its own identity in a dynamic environment. In interactions with others, sensemaking becomes a participatory process grounded in embodied action, in a shared space. Instead of “a detached individual trying to figure out the other”, the idea is that social interaction is a coordination between two or more individuals. The coordination in turn influences the individual behaviours of the participants. For example, this concept formed the basis of the PhD thesis of Phillémonne Jaasma, to develop [X] Changing Perspectives, interactive tables to facilitate the communication between citizens, local governance and other private and public parties.
A lot of today’s design challenges require a multitude of people to address them. More and more, we are developing designs that support these collaboration processes and facilitate people to make sense of the situation together. Participatory sensemaking offers you concepts and the awareness to address the subtle mechanism between people to make sense together.
De Jaegher, H. and Di Paolo, E. (2007). Participatory sense-making: An enactive approach to social cognition. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 6(4), 485-507.
Jaasma, P. (2018). Exchanging perspectives: Designing for public sphere (Doctoral thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands). Retrieved from https://research.tue.nl/en/publications/exchanging-perspectives-designing-for-public-sphere
Jaasma, P., van Dijk, J., Frens, J., and Hummels, C. (2017). On the role of external representations in designing for participatory sensemaking. In M. Bruns Alonso, and E. Ozcan (Eds.), Proceedings of the Conference on Design and Semantics of Form and Movement – Sense and Sensitivity, DeSForM 2017 (pp. 281-295, Chapter 21). London, UK: InTech.

Postphenomenology

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
The theory specifically focuses on the deep description of human experience and action from a first-person perspective. Key to this is the notion that things “are not neutral ‘intermediaries’ between human and world, but mediators; they actively mediate this relation”. “They carry morality since they help to shape how human beings act.”.
The philosophy of postphenomenology gives you abstract handles to gain a deeper insight into how a design affects our everyday lives; how they shape what our world is and who we are? How do they shape how we interpret the world? What do they enable us to do and constrain us from doing and how do they affect us ethically? These handles help a lot in understanding and designing the transformational qualities of your design.

Rosenberger, R. and Verbeek, P. -P. (2015). Postphenomenological investigations. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Technological systems

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There are many takes on technological systems. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in the experiences of systems and chains of interconnected technologies. How do we conceptualise technological systems with a mixed form of material and service-oriented mediation, where we consider ‘material’ to be physical and digital? How do we investigate the face-to-face dimension of the technologically mediated services and how do we face the challenge of sparking multiple forms of mediating relations at the same time, e.g. embodied, hermeneutic and immersion relations, for which there isn’t a theoretical account yet?
Exploring the topic of technological systems will make you wiser when it comes to understanding how your design will always be part of a larger technological whole that co-shapes what the meaning of your design is and will be in context.
Rosenberger, R. (2014). Multistability and the agency of mundane artifacts: From speed bumps to subway benches. Human Studies, 37(3), 369-392.
Rosenberger, R. (2018). Why it takes both postphenomenology and STS to account for technological mediation: the case of LOVE Park. In J. Aagaard, J. Friis, J. Sorenson, O. Tafdrup and C. Hasse (Eds.), Postphenomenological methodologies: New ways in mediating techno-human relationships (pp. 171-198). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Technology in becoming

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
There is an entire branch of philosophy dedicated to understanding reality as a process. Within this branch there also is work done on understanding technology in becoming. Building on phenomenological foundations the squad is interested in understanding all nuances of technologies in becoming, instead of technologies in use at single points in time. This includes both technology-in-the-making (the process of constituting a new technology) and technology-in-appropriation (the process in which users make an existing technology “fit” their own lives).
Exploring the topic of technology in becoming will give you a unique perspective into how technology unfolds over time and how your design is and always remains part of this process.

Rosenberger, R. (2014). Multistability and the agency of mundane artifacts: From speed bumps to subway benches. Human Studies, 37(3), 369-392.
Rosenberger, R. (2018). Why it takes both postphenomenology and STS to account for technological mediation: the case of LOVE Park. In J. Aagaard, J. Friis, J. Sorenson, O. Tafdrup and C. Hasse (Eds.), Postphenomenological methodologies: New ways in mediating techno-human relationships (pp. 171-198). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Michelfelder, D. (2015). Postphenomenology with an eye to the future. In R. Rosenberger and P. -P. Verbeek (Eds.), Postphenomenological investigations (pp. 237-246). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
Combes, M. (2013). Gilbert Simondon and the Philosophy of the Transindividual (T. LaMarre, Trans.). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Transformation paradigm

Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Our society is changing continuously, and when looking more closely, one can detect several underlying paradigms and types of societies over the last 40-50 years, with a current move towards the purpose economy (Hurst, 20xx) and the transformation economy (Brand and Rocchi, 2011). In the latter, the central value proposition is an ethical value exchange (trust, collaboration); consumers are starting to appreciate products that are ethically and sustainably produced and traded. It has attention for global and societal issues. To solve these issues, industry, government, academia and local user communities will need to collaborate to create local solutions that contribute to the larger whole (Brand and Rocchi, 2011; Gardien et al., 2015). The transformation paradigm potentially has two future directions, steady state and eco-entangled, also labelled as Habitania and Gaia (Brand, 2019).
This paradigm, coined by Brand and Rocchi (2011) is part of a framework that looks back on how society has developed in terms of different paradigms, as well as part of a recent framework that looks forward how society might develop in the future (Brand, 2019). Based on an understanding of these (potential) developments, it provides a vision for the future of society and how design and your design project relates to this.

Brand, R., & Rocchi. (2011). Rethinking value in a changing landscape: A model for strategic reflection and business transformation. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Gardien, P., Djajadiningrat, J., Hummels, C., and Brombacher, A. (2014). Changing your hammer: the implications of paradigmatic innovation for design practice. International Journal of Design, 8(2), 119-139.
Brand, R. (2019). Co-emerging futures: a model for reflecting on streams of future change. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.

Community-based design or else scaling down

Javed Khan
Scaling up and abstraction have been the two major contributions of design to the growth of mass markets for the past 70 years. Scaling down is a counter cultural movement that seeks to create a more tailored experience for communities and individuals.
Scaling down can be seen in a variety of projects from office space planning to public health inventions in a city.
Myerson, J. (2016). Scaling Down: Why Designers Need to Reverse Their Thinking. She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics, and Innovation, 2(4), 288-299.

Constructive Design Research

Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Design research in which construction — be it product, system, space, or media — takes centre place and becomes the key means in constructing knowledge. It’s a small but growing slice of design research. There are many types of constructive design research, but only a few approaches have been successful for a decade or more. These can be categorised as: Lab, Field, and Showroom. They come from different places, with some having roots in universities, some in design firms, some in engineering and the social sciences, and some in contemporary art. The crux of any laboratory study is experimentation. The researcher manipulates the thing of interest in the lab to learn how people react to it while holding other things constant. Field researchers work with context in an opposite way from researchers in a lab. Rather than bringing things of interest into the lab for experimental studies, field researchers go after these things in natural settings, that is, in a place where some part of a design is supposed to be used. Showroom relies on debate rather than statistics, like Lab, or precedents and replication, like Field. It questions the way in which people see and experience the material world and elicits change through debate.
The approach gives many handles to investigate new realities: Constructive design researchers do not try to analyse the material world, nor do they see design as an exercise in rational problem solving. Rather, they imagine new realities and build them to see whether they work. The main criterion for successful work is whether it is imaginative in design terms.
Koskinen, I., Zimmerman, J., Binder, T., Redström, J and Wensveen, S. (2011). Design research through practice: From the lab, field and showroom. Waltham, MA: Morgan Kaufmann.

Crowdsourcing for design

Javed Khan
Internet’s proliferation has raised a new type of work-related websites, known as crowdsourcing platforms. One might have already heard of Airbnb, which is sourcing rooms from the crowd and Uber sourcing rides from the crowd. Nevertheless, these two platforms are only the tip of the iceberg. Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (mturk.com) sources all sorts of human intelligence tasks (such as image annotations) from the crowd, Crowdsite.com sources graphic designs, BugCrowd.com sources software vulnerabilities and Prolific.ac sources participants for academic research, just to name a few.
The term crowdsourcing is also known in the literature as human computation and collective intelligence (CI). Although these and other related terms (e.g. citizen science) have their slight variations, they essentially mean the same thing: fostering the seamless completion of complex tasks from an anonymous crowd of people, to develop systems that have been inconceivable up to this day.
Speed up innovation, create an on-demand innovation powerhouse for every SME
Khan, V.J., Dhillon, G., Piso, M., Schelle, K. (2016). Crowdsourcing user and design research. In Collaboration in Creative Design (pp. 121-148). Springer International Publishing, Switzerland.

Data-enabled design

Caroline Hummels
The so-called data-enabled design methodology aims at getting detailed and nuanced contextual, behavioural and experiential insights from everyday life settings. It does so by using an open and malleable collection of physical and digital tools, the data-enabled design canvas, to collect sensor data (both manually and automatically via tracking devices and sensor-equipped prototypes) as well as qualitative data (through different media, wizard-of-oz interfaces, chatbots and face-to-face interviews). The combination of data supports a rich understanding of technological mediation with all its experiential, behavioural and contextual nuances (Van Kollenburg and Bogers, 2019).
One important cornerstone of the department of Industrial Design is data. We like to see data as a material, meaning that your need skills and tools to work with this digital material. Data-enabled-design offers this approach.
Bogers, S., Van Kollenburg, J., Rutjes, H., Deckers, E., Frens, J., and Hummels, C. (2018). A showcase of data-enabled design explorations. In CHI 2018 – Extended Abstracts of the 2018 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems: Engage with CHI (Vol. 2018-April, Paper no. D302). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Bogers, S., Frens, J., Van Kollenburg, J., Deckers, E., & Hummels, C. (2016). Connected baby bottle: A design case study towards a framework for data-enabled design. In Proceedings of the 2016 ACM Conference on Designing Interactive Systems (pp. 301-311). New York, NY: ACM Press.
Van Kollenburg, J., and Bogers, S. (2019). Data-enabled design: A situated design approach that uses data as creative material when designing for intelligent ecosystems (Doctoral thesis, Eindhoven University of Technology, The Netherlands).

Design informed postphenomenology

Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith, Pierre Lévy
This approach in an integration of existing postphenomenological methodologies, methodologies from constructive design research (CDR) as well as reinterpretation of relevant philosophical framings in the light of theoretical objectives. The integration of these methodologies into one coherent whole and its application to specific case studies results in design-informed postphenomenology. A CDR approach enables the methodical construction of new design mediations in context which can put the current postphenomenological theory to the test and actively target theoretical shortcomings as well as uncover so far unidentified theoretical shortcomings in the process. This can be considered a dialectic between the theory and specific constructed realities / experiments via designing (Redström, 2017). This interplay is further informed/inspired by the reinterpretations of relevant philosophical framings for addressing the specific theoretical gap, as is often done in classical philosophy. These reinterpretations will be constituted through (re)readings of relevant philosophers and interviews with contemporary experts.

Essential Details

Pierre Lévy
The essential details are necessary elements of the design which reveal beauty in interaction, in order to reach an irresistible interaction. We question how we can design for irresistible interactions in an artefact in order to engage people in a beautiful experience with this artefact. Then we reflect on the impact of this detail in the bigger picture: how it affects our behaviours, our values, our relation with the world. In this approach, designers are asked to freeze their concept quickly (usually a few weeks), and then to focus on details by means of iterations on explorative prototype making. Design projects will focus on the quality and the making of the essential details; research projects will use a Research-through-Design approach to point out the impact of the essential detail on the user’s experience and values.
This approach is centered on the body and the experience. It proposes an original approach for decision making, not based on rational but on experience. It leads to the determination and to the appreciation of beauty in interaction.

Inside out – first-person perspective

Pierre Lévy
This approach invites to work considering as a starting point the first‐person point‐of‐view (inside). The design first questions and challenges her/his own life, exploring through a cycle of actions and reflections the challenged values. This may concern personal everyday rituals (such as making tea home) or more societal issues (such as health at work, or time management). This inside step deals with details, intimacy, lived reality. The outcome of this exploration, that is a key value for transformation to be addressed through design, will then be challenged at the third‐person point‐of‐view (out) to operate a transformative design. The main challenge of this approach is the shift from the 1st person perspective to the 3rd one, which is to be done through a discursive approach.
This approach shows the implication of the designer as a person (with her/his experience and values) in the design process, and the values of involving the first-person perspective in the process.
Levy, P. D. (2018). The beauty of making hot chocolate: An inquiry on designing for everyday rituals. In Proceedings of the DRS 2018: Catalyst (Vol. 5., pp. 339-348). London, UK: Design Research Society.

Intuitive inquiry for design

Sander van der Zwan
“Intuitive inquiry is a hermeneutical research method that joins intuition to intellectual precision. Intuitive researchers explore topics that claim their enthusiasm and invite the inquiry to transform both their understanding of the topic and their lives. As a method, intuitive inquiry seeks to both describe what is and envision new possibilities for the future through an in-depth, reflection process of interpretation.” (Anderson, 2017)

It is also a cyclic methodology and does therefore have no formal end, allowing for a continuous re-structuration of knowledge as the researcher goes through multiple cycles. The cycle consists of the 5 specific smaller cycles.
Cycle 1: engage daily with a source that repeatedly attracts your attention to identify a research topic
Cycle 2: identify preliminary lenses through which you view the topic before data collection
Cycle 3: data collection
Cycle 4: transform and refine the cycle 2 lenses based on the new data
Cycle 5: integrate the findings and do a literature review
This approach allows you to research topics that claim your enthusiasm and invites this inquiry to transform both your understanding of the topic and your life. At the same time, this approach serves as a solid framework for conducting research, while still being very much aligned with the way designers often like to work in practice.
Anderson, R. (2004). Intuitive inquiry: An epistemology of the heart for scientific inquiry. The Humanistic Psychologist, 32(4), 307-341.
Charmaz, K., & McMullen, L. M. (2011). Five ways of doing qualitative analysis: Phenomenological psychology, grounded theory, discourse analysis, narrative research, and intuitive inquiry. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Perceiving the invisible

Pierre Lévy
Perceiving the invisible aims to look at invisible processes structuring our everyday life, and questioning their impact on our behaviours, by making them visible. Think about wireless waves (wifi, Bluetooth, 4G…), about the quantity of energy it takes for a google request to be answered, about water flows in the city, about maintenance systems in place to keep the university clean, about what is being done with taxes…
This approach helps you to understand through designing the importance of transparency or opacity of information in the society: What are the positive and negative impact of showing vs. hiding some information? What are the values beneath design movements such are seamless interaction? Making information invisible is a design decision, discussing the ethical consequences is the objective of this approach.
Levy, P. D. (2018). Le temps de l’expérience: enchanter le quotidien par le design. (Mémoire d’Habilitation à Diriger des Recherches, Compiègne, France).

Probing emerging futures

Caroline Hummels
What will our world be like in 20, 30, or 40 years’ time? The creation of meaningful innovations requires an understanding of changing values and paradigms. By departing from the emerging present and creating a deep understanding of people’s values and how socio-cultural paradigms are developing, we might project towards things to come. But what will this future entail? Will we embrace a post-biological future; will we strive for immortality; will we move towards dignified living for all or living in harmony with nature? Design probes can support you to initiate a debate about values and paradigms and explore how products and services could help people to achieve their future goals and aspirations (. By exploring and discussing probable, plausible, possible and preferable futures through fictional yet preferably experiential probes, the designer can explore which underlying imaginaries and values resonate with a larger audience. These design probes are related to material speculations (Wakkary et al., 2016).
Designers are always anticipating the future through their design. When this leap becomes too big, it is hard to get an understanding of and feeling for probable, plausible, possible and preferable futures. Probing emerging futures offers ways to explore and research these potential futures.
Brand, R. (2019). Co-emerging futures: a model for reflecting on streams of future change. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Kolkman, F., Brand, R., Christiaansen, G., Lieshout, C., Arets, D., Lévy, P., Hummels, C. (2018). Probing Emerging Futures Post-human: Upload funeral. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Kolkman, F., Brand, R., Christiaansen, G., Lieshout, C., Arets, D., Lévy, P., Hummels, C. (2018). Probing Emerging Futures Trans-human: Eye for an eye. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Kolkman, F., Brand, R., Christiaansen, G., Lieshout, C., Arets, D., Lévy, P., Hummels, C. (2018). Probing Emerging Futures Steady-state: Multiparenthood. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Kolkman, F., Brand, R., Christiaansen, G., Lieshout, C., Arets, D., Lévy, P., Hummels, C. (2018). Probing Emerging Eco-centric: Biome games. Eindhoven, the Netherlands: Philips Design.
Wakkary, R. L., Odom, W. T., Hauser, S., Hertz, G., & Lin, H. (2016). Material speculation: actual artifacts for critical inquiry. In Proceedings of the 5th decennial Aarhus conference on critical alternatives (pp. 97-108). Aarhus Series on Human Centered Computing; Vol. 1, No. 1. Aarhus: Aarhus University

Program – Experiment Dialectic

Pierre Lévy, Sander van der Zwan
A program/experiment dialectic is a tactic to negotiate the tension between thing and theory, between the particular and the universal, between abstract images of the actual and concrete images of the potential. Firstly, it operates using programs. A characteristic of programs is that they seem to blend what we otherwise might consider questions and answers. Instead of presenting a question to be answered, they present propositions or proposals that need to be substantiated. These programs are interpreted through (design) experiments. In the way we set up the experiment, we present a certain perspective on the program. Using the metaphor of a design space opened up by the program, we might say that we use the experiment to explore this space, positioning us somewhere to be able to say “this is what the design space looks like over here”. Much like how the way we phrase and rephrase a question as we develop an understanding of what an answer could be like, and thus make questions and answers evolve together, this approach builds on the idea that certain insights depend on a process of change driven by an interaction between program and experiment.
The approach bridges the gap between theories and designs and vice versa. It allows you to work on / with abstract matters through concrete designs.
Redström, J. (2017). Making design theory. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Sustainability Transitions Research

Disruptive systemic change can be located in so-called regimes, the dominant order in a societal (sub)system. The notion of a socio-technical regime is aligned with the multiphase model of transitions which identifies four phases through which a transition occurs: predevelopment, take-off, acceleration, and stabilization. This transition perspective understands a dominant configuration or regime in the context of its interaction with changing external (landscape) factors, preferences, and pressures as well as in interaction with emerging novelties, innovations, and alternatives. As the broader societal context changes and new radical alternatives develop and emerge, regimes inevitably will enter a process of increased stress, internal crises, destabilization, and shock-wise systemic reconfiguration. Within sustainability transitions research, the concept of ‘roles’ enables the analysis of (changing) roles and relations between actor roles as indicative of changes in the social fabric and shared values, norms and beliefs. It also allows considering the use of roles as a transition governance intervention. This includes creating new roles, breaking down or altering existing ones and explicitly negotiating or purposefully assigning roles, as well as the flexible use of roles as resources.
The field of sustainability transitions research has emerged in the past two decades in the context of a growing scientific and public interest in large-scale societal transformation toward sustainability. There is a broad theoretical and empirical basis, with a variety of social transformation strategies and instruments, impacting disciplinary scientific fields as well as (policy) practice. One of the leading research institutes is Drift (Erasmus University, Rotterdam), well known for the publications of Jan Rotmans and Derk Loorbach. They have many publications and methods that can inform and inspire you. One of them characterises the field by identifying its main perspectives, approaches and shared concepts, and its relevance to real-world sustainability problems and solutions. The second recommended publication describes the insights of the roles of the actors (stakeholders) in complex transition projects.
Wittmayer, J.M., Avelino, F., Steenbergen, F van, Loorbach, D. (2017). Actor roles in transition: Insights form sociological perspectives. In: Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions, (24), 45-56.
Chang, Loorbach, D., Frantzeskaki, N., and Avelino, F.. (2017). Sustainability Transitions Research: Transforming Science and Practice for Societal. In: Annual Review of Environment and Resources, 42(1), 599-626

Transformative practices

Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
A transformative practice is a configuration of humans and technologies aiming to address societal challenges, by changing their ways of living and working, through designing new socio-technological mediations that change their presence in and experience of the world. To support these practices, we have developed the transformative practices framework to support designing these mediations and the change of people. The framework is centred around societal challenges that are addressed by merging three basic elements: people (I & other becoming change), process (the design & research processes to create mediations stimulating change) and mediations (the socio-technological designs that enable people to change). By switching lenses when operating within this framework, the team can design mediations that change people’s experience of the world and support them to transform.
This framework aims at helping multi-stakeholder teams to research, design and innovate transformative practices to tackle societal challenges, which are inherently wicked and systemic. It forms the bases of this squad and your project to support you during your design and learning process.
Hummels, C. C. M., Trotto, A., Peeters, J. P. A., Levy, P., Alves Lino, J., & Klooster, S. (2019). Design research and innovation framework for transformative practices. In Strategy for change (pp. 52-76). Glasgow: Glasgow Caledonian University.

Future of collective data

Experts: Javed Khan, Jun Hu, Caroline Hummels
Potential partners: PON-Telos, University of Utrecht (UU)
Data plays a large role in our currently society. What is the impact and what are the opportunities from a transformation perspective? We explore with different stakeholders the role of data in various ways: to increase the collaboration between government and citizens, as well as well as exploring the technical possibilities, e.g. by developing Massive Data Annotation tools for GIS.
1) Citizens have a growing say in nowadays governance, and local governance are looking for ways to communicate with citizens and include them in their processes. Combining statistic open data gathered by (local) governance with a lively debate with citizens using sensor data and citizen-generated data can boost this collaboration. We explore data-enabled debates between multiple stakeholders, by setting up new forms of embodied data sharing, debating and creating, combining data from different sources and people.
2) Next to this, we design and develop the “FoldIt” for GIS (i.e. the next generation Massive Data Annotation tool for for GIS). Annotated GIS data can enable AI systems which can improve people’s vitality, reduce traffic, assist architects, among numerous other applications of the built environment. Foldit applies the human’s three-dimensional pattern matching and spatial reasoning abilities to help solve the problem of protein structure prediction, in this case applied to GIS.

Future of design-informed philosophy

Experts: Pierre Lévy, Caroline Hummels, Sander van der Zwan, Maarten Smith
Potential partners: University of Twente, (UT) RISE
Design research is taking a new direction. Not just does design seek to find inspiration in philosophy and psychology, but our main aim is to develop a design-informed philosophy: a branch of philosophy (or a new interdisciplinary subfield) that takes the insights and methods from design research in answering questions about how humans meaningfully relate to their environment. This requires work on specific projects, a conceptual framework as well as work on this novel methodology for philosophy. For example, we try to explore and understand technology in becoming. Building on phenomenological foundations we are interested in understanding all nuances of technologies in becoming, instead of technologies in use at single points in time. This includes both technology-in-the-making (the process of constituting a new technology) and technology-in-appropriation (the process in which users make an existing technology “fit” their own lives). By designing new propositions, we can explore this and other theoretical concepts.

Future of education

Experts: Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy, Conny Ouwerkerk
Potenital partners: Provence of NB, TU/e Boost, Comenius
What is learning in the future and which educational approach, related pedagogy, methods, environment and tools, do we prefer to educate people, including educating them to design new transformative practices? This means that we have to look at various parameters, including the people that are learning (multi-stakeholder team from different backgrounds, educational levels, phase of learning and professional experience), the scope of the challenge (starting from societal challenges working at a meso level), the place of learning and teaching (in society in a relevant context or at school?), the supporting technology (e.g., knowledge management tools, and reflection tools and data visualisation), and the palette of required competencies (e.g. designing, collaborating, communicating, system thinking and long-term innovating). Within the squad we run various research projects focused on education, including being an experimental environment of the TU/e Boost! project where we develop our own learning environment for the future.

Future of energy

Experts: Cindy van den Bremen, Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy, Cindy van den Bremen
Potential partners: Provence of NB, ZET, Enpuls
The Netherlands aims at a total renewable energy use of 50% by 2030 and close to 100% by 2050 (Ministry of Economic Affairs, 2017). This results in a number of challenges, such as the motivation of people to switch towards renewable energy. It also forms a challenge for well-over half a million Dutch households who experience so-called energy poverty, i.e. they aren’t able to pay the societally-regarded minimum costs of energy (Van Middelkoop et al., 2018). They are financially unable to upgrade their own infrastructure and experience problems regarding their daily survival, participation and social resilience, which hamper their feeling of urgency regarding energy transition (Breukers et al., 2019). Design can support de the development of mediations that support the energy transition. For example, how can design mediation support mutual empathy, self-reflection, effective communication and creativity between local governments, citizens and housing companies to support energy transition? Or, how can people feel more responsibility for energy savings?

Future of healthcare

Expert: Caroline Hummels, Laura Nino
Potential partner: Philips Design, Design Academy, Frank Kolkman
Non-native pregnant women in the Netherlands face a comparatively high rate of perinatal and maternal mortality in comparison with other European countries. This case study investigates the complexity of the entire socio-technological mediation system in order to attempt to decrease the mortality rate of these specific women, but also of health ethos and wellbeing in general. We focus on increasing health ethos as well as participatory sensemaking and joint responsibility. The elements we focus on, including e.g. 1) communication means such as intake forms and websites that struggle to deal with language barriers and low levels of social integration, 2) non-aligned technological, organisation and financial systems for primary care midwives and secondary care obstetricians, stimulating hampered communication and cultural divides, 3) the complexity of the dozens of involved stakeholders, and 4) the theoretical and practical implications of health ethos.Next to this specific focus, we also explore the future the healthcare in general on the long run, in collaboration with the Design Academy and Frank Kolkman, which focuses more on future scenarios.

Future of the city

Experts: Jun Hu, Javed Khan, Cindy van den Bremen, Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Potential partners: ZET, City of Eindhoven, ZET, RISE
The programme ‘Smart Society’ of the city of Eindhoven, is all about quality of life in the city. As a local government, Eindhoven needs to ensure that use of technology and data in public space is visible, transparent, open, secure and respects privacy of individuals and communities. The processes and the results of data collection in public space should be easy to understand and to make use of for everybody: citizens, entrepreneurs, companies, academic and governmental organisations. We see this shift not only in Eindhoven, but also in other cities like Umeå in Sweden. What kind of possibilities can new technology like IoT and sensors bring to the different stakeholders? How can the city engage with inhabitants and entrepreneurs to make them aware of sensors in public space and let them to use the best of it? And how can citizens and entrepreneurs contribute to the community and the city? What can design offer in the transformation of the city?

Future of the Netherlands

Experts: Caroline Hummels, Pierre Lévy
Potential partners: Rijkswaterstaat (RWS), Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Philips Design
How can we anticipate big societal challenges in relation to the development of the Netherland in the upcoming 30-100 years? How do you study these futures, how do you discuss them? What can be the role of design in exploring these futures as well as the implications for the main stakeholders, such as Rijkswaterstaat? In this project we work with different partners the future of the Netherlands. With RWS we run Expedition RWS 2050, where RWS aims to explore a range of possible futures in 2050, so that they are better prepared as an organisation to anticipate and deal with these changing situations in the Netherlands. With WUR, we explore the future in 2120, starting from a more ecological perspective. This project is also connected to design-informed philosophy, more specifically technology in becoming, as well as the future of healthcare, focused on probing emerging futures.