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Robin Beers - Design Researchers, what are we up to in 2022?

Robin Beers - Design Researchers, what are we up to in 2022?

A scan of the presentation descriptions for Design Research 2022 and conversations with Research Leaders across a variety of companies in the U.S., illuminates where our attention is going in our field. I will delve into some of the trends and themes such as the possibilities of research as a catalyst for organizational change, the rise of Research Operations, the trend toward democratization of research, and the quest for the knowledge management holy grail.



March 17, 2022

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  1. 0 Robin Beers, PhD Design Research 2022 March 16, 2022

    Researchers: What are we up to?
  2. Let’s start with WHY? From user-centered to systems shifting design

    Impact & Interconnection What does research democratization have to do with it? What’s coming up
  3. WHY?

  4. 3 Englis h Lit. Women’ s Studies Org Psych African

    America n Studies Diversity Consultin g
  5. 4 Anthropologists in the Corporate Jungle

  6. © Photo by TK Hammonds on Unsplash Making Business More

  7. User-Centered 🡪 Systems-Shifting

  8. Human-centered Design: How it started woman in black long sleeve

    shirt holding white paper photo – Free Indonesia Image on Unsplash
  9. Human-centered Design: How it’s going

  10. None
  11. Serving the needs of one audience (commuters) to the detriment

    of another (residents) User-centered 🡪 Humanity-centered
  12. None
  13. Impact & Interconnection

  14. None
  15. None
  16. UK Design Council: Evolved Double Diamond

  17. Kate Rasworth, Economist – Exploring Doughnut Economics - https://www.kateraworth.com/doughnut/

  18. We need bigger questions How might research lead to and

    inform solutions that are: Lasting Circular Inclusive
  19. This is not a technical challenge, but a creative one

    that depends on our collective ability to make and to remake the systems we live by–systems for wealth, property, ownership, consumption, welfare, wellbeing - at a deeper level.
  20. Evolving design practice at Design Council. | by Cat Drew

    | Design Council | Medium Systems Shifting Design User-centered System-conscious System-shifting
  21. Single-use plastics, deforestation, social equity, data privacy… Tackling these problems

    means redesigning entire systems but these are the problems truly worth solving. “ “ Tommy Campbell, Space10 Beyond Human-Centered Design
  22. Design Research Maturity

  23. Signs Design Research is Maturing • Research Operations • New

    Roles • Research Democratization • New Tools • Conducting research • Knowledge management
  24. Research Democratization is a HOT topic What is it? •

    Democratizing research is about empowering anyone in the organization to create and consume user insights to make more informed decisions This can look like: • Allowing non-researchers to conduct studies • Research repositories with tagged, searchable insights Professed benefits: • Enable organizations to scale insight volume and velocity • Free up research team’s time • Increase research ROI with reuse and reducing waste
  25. - Devalues the training and expertise of researchers - Poor

    research quality leading to poor decision making - Keeps research teams under resourced + Non-researchers are going to talk to customers + It heightens appreciation for our expertise + It frees up time for strategic research Non-researchers doing research
  26. Research-Approved Research-Assisted Research Led Inspired by @BEH_ZOD Generative, strategic, high

    visibility, not a lot is known You’re figuring out ‘democratization’ you want guard rails, you are jointly responsible for outcomes Templates, tools, and processes are in place, as well as trust High Low Risk Democratizing research is not the same as handing over the practice of research
  27. Democratization is core to, not competitive with, the focus of

    a research team. We have to acknowledge that our role in helping our organizations learn and make better decisions means that we cannot be the ones with all the answers. Instead, we need to identify areas where our organizations need to learn in rigorous and structured ways and actively support that learning. “ “ Bezoh Sirjani Democratization is our Job
  28. Maintaining an insight library is one of the most sophisticated

    things you can do in research practice.
  29. A knowledge management system that really works doesn’t exist. “

    “ Our repository is not at the level we would want. “ “
  30. + Atomized insights, tagged and searchable, can be used and

    reused + Reduces duplication waste + Self-service insights + Automatic transcription + Video clip processing - Tagging takes work - Changes the researcher’s process - Can decontextualize insights Knowledge Management Repositories
  31. Audience Data Density Raw Data Curated quotes/video Business/Design decisions made

    Synthesis across a program or topic Findings & Recommendations Another Researcher Workshop Participants Program team members/leaders Other people in the org Senior Executives Who is accessing the repository and why?
  32. Context matters

  33. None
  34. “The main currency of research is synthesis.”

  35. Personas, Task Models, and Journey Maps are also insights repositories

  36. None
  37. Thank you!