Design interactions (Murphy 2011: 36)

The three Royds housing estates (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

Typical 1950’s Dwellings on the estates (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

A resident Director and planner discussing proposals with resident (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

Two resident Directors discussing proposals with a resident (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

Children’s activities during the consultation road show (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

Residents showing initial plans and a sketch model of new community facilities (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

Recently completed community centre (Source: Royds Housing Association, 2001)

Previous Next
Dela sida

Wisdom of the Crowd: How Participatory Design has evolved Design Briefing

Title: Wisdom of the Crowd: How Participatory Design has evolved Design Briefing
Author: Emma Murphy and David Hands
Affiliation: Lancaster University, Lancaster Institute for the Contemporary Arts
DOI:  10.3384/svid.2000-964X.12228
First published: 2012-12
Year: 2012
Pages: 28-37
Number of pages: 10
Article number:  
Language: English

SVID, Swedish Industrial Design Foundation/Linköping University Electronic Press, Linköping University, Sweden

Publication type: Journal article
Journal: Swedish Design Research Journal
ISSN: 2000-964X

Download the article

 Download the article "Wisdom of the Crowd" here (pdf, 1 Mb)

Summary of case

This case example has discussed the significant and important role of the residents in determining a new all embracing vision for the Royds estates, that not only aims to reduce crime but to create a social and environmentally sustainable future for the residents.

Firstly, the input of Stephen Town, Architectural Liaison Officer, has been considerable in terms of driving consultation and the engagement of residents; secondly, Tony Dylak, Director of Royds Housing Association, his vision and ability to listen and support the wishes of the residents has been immense. Combined, it is suggested that the design briefing stages was the catalyst for change and the mutual sharing of vision.

The design briefing process provided a platform for all stakeholders to envision a future for the estates, providing a common ground for residents, the police, housing authorities and architects to meet, discuss and implement the wishes of everyone that embraces a crime-reduced future.

Referring back to the central focus of this paper, the 5 key drivers for participatory engagement are clearly explicit within the case discussion.

Firstly, the designer’s role within the initial briefing stages embraced a wider remit of responsibility. They carefully orchestrated a series of planned events to both appeal and entice the residents to the consultation ‘roadshows’.

Secondly, with the opportunity to meaningfully participate and be an equal part of the consultation process, the residents responded wholeheartedly to expressing their requirements and ambitions to reinforce positive changes within the design and development process. As such, this then leads us to the issue of blurring boundaries between the various domains of knowledge, which traditionally remained distinctly separate and isolated. With the erosion of these perceived ‘boundaries’ by the residents, they actively engaged through all stages of the project duration, often contributing specialist knowledge and experiential understanding of complex design considerations.

Conducive conditions to dynamic, participatory design briefing

Through exploration of the literature and empirical evidence, it could be argued that five key elements (or discreet variants of) are often found within ‘dynamic’ participatory design briefing; these may be surmised as follows:

1 – Design leadership: Design leadership is the ability to take an idea from inception right through to full implementation. However, leadership is the skillful ‘art’ of ensuring integrity and intent of the original idea is maintained and embedded within the final designed outcome (Cooper, Wootton, Hands, Daly and Bruce (2002). One key element of sensitive and intelligent leadership activity is the ability to reach out and engage diverse audiences under the aegis of one collective vision and unified purpose (Cooper et al, ibid).

2 – Flexible process: taking an idea from A to Z requires the ability and confidence of the design team / or sponsor to critically reflect on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the approach to the design ‘task’. Through the utilisation and adoption of a flexible and ‘fluid’ design briefing process ‘change’ can be accommodated for and embraced as new information arises through continual dialogue, understanding and reflection. The necessity of a dynamic, bespoke process which adapts to the context further reinforces the need for engagement rather than following an off the shelf process or ‘going through the motions’.

3 - Clear purpose: This is crucial for the avoidance of project ‘creep’/ambiguity right at the initial stages of the design project. Clear purpose could be considered the manifestation of strategic intent providing a firm ‘focus’ to obtaining long term strategic objectives throughout all stages of project duration are met.

4 – Culture (energy, enthusiasm): Through clear and sensitive ‘leadership’ and the encouragement to take risks, all stakeholders within the briefing process can significantly contribute to the overall success of the project. By fostering a culture of creativity and enthusiasm, the benefits are considerable both in tangible and intangible outcomes. Again, one key determinant of this philosophy is through successful design leadership, and also the use of creative research methods.

5 – Designerly methods to engage the masses: design is both a verb and a noun. ‘To design…’ is equally as important as the designed outcome at the end of the project. The design team has many diverse and dynamic tools and techniques at their disposal to use throughout the differing stages of the design process. Through the careful combination and deployment of these techniques, invaluable information can be gleaned from a variety of differing sources (to read more about appropriate design methods in the literature see Sanoff (1983, 1991; Hanington and Martin, 2012). 


Best, K. M. (2006) Design Management: Managing Design Strategy, Process And Implementation, Switzerland, Ava Publishing Sa.

Blyth, A. & Worthington, J. (2001) Managing The Brief For Better Design, London, Spon Press

Borja De Mozota, B. (2003) Design Management: Using Design To Build Brand Value And Corporate Innovation, New York, Allworth Press.

Brannan, T., John P., and Stoker, G. (2007) Re-Energizing Citizenship: Strategies For Civil Renewal. Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire; New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Brannan, T., John, P., Stoker, G. (2006) Active Citizenship And Effective Public Services And Programmes: How Can We Know What Really Works? Urban Studies, 43(5/6): 993–1008.

Brown, T. (2008) Design Thinking. Harvard Business Review, 86 (6), 84–92.

Brown, T. (2009) Change By Design: How Design Thinking Transforms Organisations And Inspires Innovation, New York, Harpercollins.

Bruce, M. & Bessant, J. (2002) Design In Business: Strategic Innovation Through Design, Essex, Pearson Education Ltd.

Cooper, R. Wootton, A. Hands, D. Daly, L. Bruce, M. “Invisible Innovation: Models Of Design Facilitation In The Supply Chain.” In Proceedings Of ‘European Academy Of Management – 2nd Conference On Innovative Research In Management, Euram 2002 Stockholm May 9-11 2002.

Cumming, D. & Malins, J. (2006) The Values Of Graphic Design In Small Uk Businesses As A Pre-Brief Communication Tool. In Williams, A., Hands, D. & O’brien, D. (Eds.) D2b Shanghai 2006: First International Design Management Symposium. Adelphi Research Institute, Manchester.

Design Council (2010) Design Industry Insights: Comments And Conversations On The Business Of Design In The Uk. London, Design Council

Design Council (2012) Reasons For Briefing. [Online] Available At: Http://Www.Designcouncil.Org.Uk/Resources-And-Events/Business-And-Public-Sector/Guides/Briefing/Reasons/ [Accessed: 12 September 2012].

Han, Q. (2010) Practices And Principles In Service Design: Stakeholder, Knowledge And Community Of Service: A Summary. Lulu (Http://Www.Lulu.Com/Shop/Qin-Han/Summary/Ebook/Product-17365274.Html)

Hanington., B., And Martin, B. (2012) Universal Methods Of Design: 100 Ways To Research Complex Problems, Develop Innovative Ideas, And Design Effective Solutions, Ma: Rockport.

Lloyd, P., Lawson, B., And Scott, P. (1997) Can Concurrent Verbalization Reveal Design Cognition? Design Studies 16 (2), P237–259.

Maciver, F., O’driscoll, A. Consultancy Designer Involvement In New Product Development: Mapping A Novel Design Leadership Process. International Product Development Management Association Conference. Universidad De Murcia, June, 2010.

Macpherson, S., Kelly, J. & Male, S. (1992) The Briefing Process: A Review And A Critique, London, Royal Institution Of Chartered Surveyors.

Murphy, E. (2011) Learning To Practice: A Case Study In Dynamic Learning At The Interface Of Design And Business. Phd Thesis, University Of Dundee.

Murphy, E. & Press, M. (2007) Strictly Ballroom Or Dancing In The Moment? Methods For Enhancing The Partnership Of Design And Business. Seventh European Academy Of Design Conference: Dancing With Disorder: Design, Discourse, Disaster, Izmir, Turkey.

Nutt, B. (1993) The Strategic Brief. Facilities, 11 (9), 28–32.

Phillips, P. (2004) Creating The Perfect Design Brief, New York, Alworth Press.

Press, M. & Cooper, R. (2003) The Design Experience: The Role Of Design And Designers In The Twenty-First Century, Hants, Ashgate Publishing Limited.

Royal Institute Of British Architects & Phillips, R. (2008) Plan Of Work: Multi-Disciplinary Services, London, Riba.

Rylander, A. (2008) Design Thinking As Knowledge Work: Epistemological Foundations And Practical Implications. International Dmi Conference, Design Thinking: New Challenges For Designers, Managers And Organisations. Essec Business School, Cergy-Pointoise, France.

Sanders, E.B.-N. & Stappers, P.J. (2008) Co-Creation And The New Landscapes Of Design. Codesign, 4(1), 5–18.

Sanoff, H. (1983) Human exchange techniques for citizen participation, Design Studies Vol 4 No 2 pp 157–164.

Sanoff, H (1991), Visual research methods in design, New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold

Smith, J., Love, P. E. D. & Heywood, C. (2005) A Method For Performance Briefing At The Project Inception Stage. Facilities, 23 (7/8), 319–329.

Tan, L. (2009) Seven ’New’ Roles Designers Are Playing In Public Life. Design Phd Conference: Sustainability, Innovation And Design. Lancaster University.

Taylor, L. (2004). Client-Ship And Citizenship In Latin America. Bulletin Of Latin American Research, 23(2): 213–227.

Taylor, L., Wilson, F. (2004) The Messiness Of Everyday Life: Exploring Key Themes In Latin American Citizenship Studies. Bulletin Of Latin American Research, 23(2): 154–164.

Thomson, S., Sissons, A., And Montgomery, L. (2012) UK Design As A Global Industry: International Trade And Intellectual Property. Big Innovation Centre, Available Online At: Http://Www.Biginnovationcentre.Com/Assets/Docs/Reports/Uk%20design%20as%20a%20global%20industry%20final%20draft.Pdf. [Accessed 5 October 2012).

Tomes, A., Oates, C. & Armstrong, P. (1998) Talking Design: Negotiating The Verbal-Visual Translation. Design Studies, 19 (2), 127–142.

Tzortzopoulos, P., Cooper, R., Chan, P. & Kagioglou, M. (2006) Client Activities At The Design Front-End. Design Studies, 27 (6), 657–683.

SVID, Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | I 08-406 84 40


Anmäl dig nu till vårt nyhetsbrev


SVID, Stiftelsen Svensk Industridesign | Svensksundsvägen 13, 111 49 Stockholm | I 08-406 84 40