Facilitating collaborative design: New publication

Essential tensions in design. Image designed by Punya Mishra

Design facilitators play an important role in the open-ended collaborative design process. This becomes even more important as design based approaches expand to groups and teams that may not be as familiar with the process as expert designers may be. Facilitators support small group interactions to help generate ideas, structure discussions and guide the process with minimal friction.

Despite this increased focus on collaborative design in contexts outside of professional design, such as education, there is little research to inform facilitators in productive and thoughtful ways to navigate this process.

We build on our personal experience as facilitators in a collaborative, multi-stakeholder, educational design workshop to provide insights into the process. We identify a range of “essential tensions” that exists within multiple aspects of facilitator roles and practices—including processes, products, discussion flow, and group dynamics. More in the paper below:

Henriksen, D., Jordan, M., Foulger, T.S., Zuiker, S. & Mishra, P. (2020). Essential Tensions in Facilitating Design Thinking: Collective Reflections. Journal of Formative Design in Learning. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41686-020-00045-3

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