How deep is deep? A four-layer model of insights into human needs for design innovation

Publication Type:
Conference Proceeding
9th International Conference on Design and Emotion 2014: The Colors of Care, 2014, pp. 280 - 287
Issue Date:
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It is generally acknowledged that knowledge about the people that are affected by a design proposal, supports successful design and innovation processes. In this paper we explore the question: what needs to be known about involved people to be able to innovate through design? Based on a literature analysis of human-centred design we propose a model with four levels of human insights: 1) the desired solutions; 2) the desired scenarios; 3) which goal drives this need; and 4) which human value or theme underlies these goals. We argue that radical innovation-which involves a reframe of the problem-can be supported by an investigation of the deepest level of this human insights framework: the thematic level. We show how themes are explored through a hermeneutic phenomenological exercise. This approach is illustrated with a design case in the context of social housing.
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