The HDL’s primary focus is on human-centred participatory design research and applied practice-based research.
Human-centred design puts people at the core of the research process. It ensures that the experts, the actual stakeholders in a problem, have a voice. As design researchers we collect primary data through the generative design process of participatory design and co-design and use secondary sources to learn about the needs of the user. This involvement results in more innovative outcomes, higher acceptance rates of proposed solutions, and ultimately ensures that those whose health needs are being addressed have a voice in the process.
At the core of our practice is the use of co-design workshops, largely following the methodologies established by Sanders and Stappers (2012.) Co-design allows us to understand complex social problems, explore possible solutions, detect mistakes in design ideas, and create solutions tailored to people’s needs. Ultimately, co-design taps into the latent and tacit knowledge of the co-designers (participants) and provides insights into the needs, hopes, and desires that may not be captured in traditional research methods such as interviews and surveys.