Researcher, facilitator, co-creator: new roles for designers and others

Design is changing, and the roles of people in design change along with it. End-user fabrication, meta-design, open design, participatory culture, social media, and service-orientation, all are impacting the practices of designing and the profession of designer. New developments allow end-users to inform, inspire, or sometimes take over design and production. All this doesn’t remove the need for professionals, on the contrary: new roles are emerging for designers. New skills are needed: doing research, working with end-users and other stakeholders, designing tools for others. Design education will have to evolve if it wants to fit in with this.

Pieter Jan Stappers is chair of Design Techniques at the Faculty of Industrial Design Engineering, Delft University of Technology. After an MSc in physics and a PhD in Virtual Reality, he has been working in multidisciplinary design research teams, on topics as supporting creativity with interactive computer installations, generative methods of user research, and teaching research skills to designers.

Picture © TUDelft. Job Jansweijer

For further detail on Pieter Jan Stappers keynote, check his presentation slides below, listen or download the following audio recording: