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Design Driven Diversity - Diversity Driven Design

Gesche Joost; Stefan Göllner; Tom Bieling


A strong characteristic of humans – their diversity – is also reflected in man-made artifacts. As such, a large potential is opened up to bring together people from a variety of contexts (whether those be cultural, social or demographic) into the processes of technological and/or social innovation. In this paper, we do not regard diversity as a given human specific, but rather as the humans’ ability to creatively adapt to new or unfamiliar situations by developing innovative cognitive and bodily behaviors. This also encompasses innovative ways of people to appropriating technology. We will present three exemplary research areas, where questions concerning social inequality are addressed with regards to gender, age and disability. The research areas provide the backdrop against which we develop a situation analysis to clarify which role design and design research can play in the structuring of society. In this context, various doubts might arise with such a strong social focus – what are the limits of the social dimension of design? It is a further aim of this paper, to also discuss these doubts. The goal is to provide a pragmatic approach to diversity as a contribution for the design-/designresearch-discourse