She Ji: The Journal of Design, Economics and Innovation, Volume 3, Issue 3, Autumn 2017, Pages 210-228
Since the mid-2000s, the “Smart City” has emerged as a popular discourse describing technological solutions to challenges of urban governance. The Smart City has been praised but also criticized as a discourse for its narrow epistemology. Limitations have led to reductionist benchmarking that lends itself to comparison, yet limits practitioners’ ability to translate findings into ontologically diverse action. In the related fields of information systems and management studies, a pragmatist research paradigm has been used to address this challenge. This article explores that pragmatist paradigm, describing how it can expand the current limits of the current Smart City discourse to include local politics, technologies, and the relational genealogies that characterize sociotechnical systems. The pragmatist methodology I explore here uses excerpts from practitioner oral histories—organized visually using actor-network theory—to define and explain the emergence of two Smart City initiatives. This approach is capable of a more situated and contingent practitioner explanation of the complexity of urban projects. Ultimately, the article concludes with reflections on the use of pragmatism for Smart City cases to provide a counter perspective to the dominant discourse.
Proceedings of the 13th Participatory Design Conference: Short Papers, Industry Cases, Workshop Descriptions, Doctoral Consortium papers, and Keynote abstracts, Winhoek, Namibia, Volume 2, Pages 53-56
This paper describes the interactions around design mock-ups with stakeholders in a complex urban design context. It discusses the use of mock-ups as a form of visual presentation to legitimate new ideas. Three types of mock-ups were prepared to illustrate new ideas for inner-city bus shelters. Each type created different interactions and verbal discourse, leading to a clearer articulation of stakeholder constraints, both from their organisation and other organisations that they represented. Based on discussions with the academic research team who led the project, we formulate strategies for how mock-ups can be used in similar projects to improve the strategic design capability of designers. Our findings in alignment with previous literature, suggest that design artefacts, such as mock-ups, can help designers to be more aware of the context of design, rather than just to inform improvement in a prototype.
Proceedings from the 2nd Participatory Innovation Conference, 12th-14th January 2012, Melbourne, Australia
Participatory designers can work to discover, represent and even change the values of organisations that are taken on as clients. Considering this, the following paper profiles a recent change initiative undertaken by a private healthcare provider (PHP) in conjunction with the consulting firm Second Road, which aimed at improving the PHP’s overall service offerings. The case analysis is grounded in the notion that participatory design can be enriched when it is treated as a type of new rhetoric, that is, as an art of public thought and language. The PHP’s values were identified through a series of intensive conversations involving the ‘voice of intent’, the ‘voice of design’ and the ‘voice of experience’. Once its values were framed as ‘commonplaces’, these were in turn useful in driving the invention of new objects and customer experiences from within the organisation.