WP4 Year 2: design development

Semi-annual update 2 – August 2017

Between March and August 2017, the teams of both work packages (WP4 – personal design and 5 – design for the environment) have continued to work closely together, as well as with WP 2 (mindful framework) and WP3 (dementia care/data collection) to provide support for the data collection through the development of supportive materials, and to establish the mindful design framework.

Theoretical considerations on how to develop a mindful design process including ideation and co-design practices have been solidified through a paper submitted to and accepted for the IASDR conference 2017 in Cincinnati, USA:

The paper reports on the development of our mindful interdisciplinary design methodology in the context of designing for and with people with early to mid-stage dementia, focusing on supporting the subjective well-being and self-empowerment in social context.
The paper establishes that existing research is for the most part focussed on functional support and safe-keeping from the perspective of the carer. References to decision-making and empowerment are predominantly related to action planning for dementia care or advance care planning. References to care and social interaction show that caregivers tend to take a deficit-oriented perspective, and occupation of people with dementia is often associated with doing ‘something’ with little focus on the meaningfulness of the activity. Furthermore, caregivers and people with dementia tend to differ in their perspectives, e.g. on assistive devices, which might offer support.
The MinD project has therefore developed an interdisciplinary co-design methodology in which the voices of people with dementia contribute to better understanding and developing mindful design solutions to support them. The paper discussed the design methodological framework and methods developed for the data collection and design development phases of the project, and their rationale.

From May 2017 onwards, the MinD project has also begun with its active design phase: In May, the results from the data collection in three countries were presented (WP3), and – in joint work between healthcare professionals and designers, nine areas of ‘Need’ (Themes) were identified from the data and illustrated with quotes and visuals. Furthermore, these areas were rationalised in the ‘AIR’ model, which grouped them into needs relating to Activities, the Individual and Relationships. In response to the nine Themes, designers conducted initial brainstorming sessions to identify design directions and opportunities. Subsequently, a selection of key participants’ quotes,  existing design products and services, and MinD design ideas were overlaid in a grid relating the Needs themes as well as to mindfulness and psychosocial criteria (Topics). The grid highlighted areas of focus for participants as well as of existing designs and design ideas, where they converged and where they diverged. From this grid emerged seven ‘Transition Areas’, areas of change which people with dementia have to deal with, and which will now be addressed through specific mindful design propositions.

The next steps from September onwards will be further sessions of brainstorming and of the selection of design ideas in discussion with people with dementia and healthcare experts.