Participatory Design is an approach that actively involves the people who are facing global poverty challenges. When end-users are deeply engaged in design, their aspirations are better incorporated and needs are more accurately met. Participatory design processes not only produce products aligned to people’s needs, but they also build skills and confidence in participants. When you design something for yourself, you become a creative, collaborative problem-solver instead of simply a consumer.
MIT D-Lab practices three types of participatory design:
- Design for people who are experiencing poverty-related challenges
- Design with people who are experiencing poverty-related challenges
- Design by people who are experiencing poverty-related challenges
The type of participatory design approach we choose depends on the type of challenge or opportunity at hand. We also consider who else should be invited to participate, when in the design process is best to participate, and how?
In D-Lab’s Innovation Practice work, we specifically practice “design with” and “design by” approaches.
Participatory Design Strategies
Sher Vogel, MIT D-Lab Global Trainings Manager