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.

Semi-annual update 4 – March 2018

During three secondments in September and October 2017, further brainstorming sessions for the 7 Transitions Areas were conducted. Shortlists of the most promising design ideas were presented to a total of 17 experts, including people with dementia, external healthcare experts and carers, and dementia and healthcare colleagues from the MinD project. All experts were invited to provide feedback on the design ideas and to indicate and discuss their preferences and reasons for them. Based on this feedback, the MinD management group was able to make a decision on which design ideas to take forward. The decision for two groups of designs were made, relating to WP4 and WP5 each:

WP4: Good Life Kit, including the ‘Me & You – You & Me’ and ‘Over to You’ features

The Good Life Kit aims to support people with dementia after the diagnosis meeting through personalised information and contacts, and through mindful-reflective exercises to help them reflect and manage their conditions as well as their social interactions, including negotiating relationships and making decisions. The design responds to feelings of uncertainty and depression by people with dementia following their diagnosis and the need to be respected and stay in control of their life.

WP5: Social Engagement Map, including the ‘What I can do service’ and ‘Savouring the Good Times’ features

The Social Engagement Map aims to provide people with dementia with initiatives and emotional and practical support to stay active and socially engaged to be able to enjoy the environment. The design responds to the need for people to stay active and socially engages. Rather than changing the environment, it seeks to empower people with dementia by helping to stay socially connected, and to plan and prepare for going out to aid confidence.

From November 2017, the MinD design team has begun work on the design realisation phase, working out the specifics of the design concepts, developing design specifications, and developing the digital and physical parts of the designs. This will include regular presentation to and inclusion of co-design workshops with people with dementia and carers from March 2018.