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Design og arkitektur Norge Design and Architecture Norway

Inclusive Design - a people centred strategy for innovation

A practical introduction to Inclusive Design for Businesses & Designers - how to get started!

Citizen Focused Design Challenge - hacking the urban environment 2014

When developing inclusive products, services and environments, involving people is key. This is especially important when planning smart, sustainable cities that also are people-friendly.

To ensure an inclusive and diverse perspective, citizens of different ages, abilities, genders, and social and ethnic background must be involved and consulted in the process. This range of citizens represent lead users – a unique and valuable tool for innovation, both in design processes and in urban planning.

People are experts in their own lives - and designers, architects and urban planners are experts in their own fields. Firsthand information and insights from real people about their needs, daily lives and aspirations can challenge, add new perspectives and give rich inspiration that lead to better solutions whether you are designing products, services or environments.

During the European Innovation Workshops on Inclusive Design 16 – 17. October, the Citizen Focused Challenge will emphasize and demonstrate  the value of involving a diverse range of citizens when developing new, innovative solutions for the urban environment.

Over a period of two and a half days, 5 teams of designers, architects and urban planners will work together to come up with inclusive, mainstream solutions in response to the brief: How can inclusive design promote and support a citizen focus in the digital world when developing solutions for the urban environment? This forms one of the themes for the Workshop and the conference itself.

As governments, cities and municipalities move their services and consultation online, existing interfaces and touchpoints need to be better developed to ensure that citizen voices and perspectives are heard. This presents real challenges to be investigated, 'hacked' and addressed.

The purpose of the challenge is to demonstrate to a wider audience and workshops delegates the impact of involving a diversity of citizens in the process when developing new products, services or environments that include the needs of the widest possible range of people. For the challenge participants, the main goal is knowledge transfer and competence building by raising awareness, challenging designers creatively and emotionally helping the participants to acquire new practical skills and competence within the field of Inclusive Design. 

- It is a great experience to force yourself to design something everyone can use, and to make a presentation of the idea within such a short space of time. I would encourage everyone to participate in this Challenge!

Elizabeth Walmann, Graphic Designer and on the winning team for best presentation in 2010.

Why participate?

  • Unique opportunity for knowledge transfer between participants
  • Gain new skills in Inclusive Design and citizen centered approaches
  • Be part of a ‘best practice’ demonstration project developed in an extremely short timeframe
  • An invaluable opportunity to show what you and your selected team are made of
  • Enables new design talent to be spotted and developed by the business
  • Creative stimulus for mid-career designers
  • Become part of an international inclusive design network and draw on the expertise of Trinity College, Dublin and The Norwegian School of Design and Architecture (AHO).

This is a unique opportunity to gather designers, business, architects, urban planners and users who have not worked together before, and to establish new networks and connections with like-minded individuals.

How will it be organised?

The participants will be organised into five teams and there will be a Challenge Introduction Workshop on Wednesday 15. October at 13.00, led by facilitator Ted Matthews and Challenge Champion professor Mark Dyer, when all the teams will meet their lead user and get acquainted.

On the first day of the event European Innovation Workshops, on 16. October, all teams will be given a design brief, by Ted Matthews and Mark Dyer who will be mentoring  the teams throughout the process. The teams will present their solutions on 17. October, and the delegates of the Innovation for all Workshops will vote for "Best Idea" and "Best Presentation". Then we celebrate!

- Opened my eyes to the benefits of inclusive design. As a young designer it's easy to write off Inclusive design as just another "fancy" term to impress people. This whole event really promotes the value of inclusive design, and how it can be used to increase value.  

Martin Johnson, product design student and on the winning team for best idea in 2012


Each team will represent various disciplines, experiences, gender and age and consist of 8 persons in total:

  • A team leader
  • Designers
  • Architects
  • Urban planners
  • Students
  • Business representatives
  • 1 citizen as the lead user

One of the Challenge teams working all night to finsh in time in 2010.

The Minister of Children, Equality and Social Inclusion Inga Marte Thorkildsen congratulating the Challenge winners of Best Idea in 2012

One of the teams participating in the 2010 24H Challenge in Inclusive Design doing a ice-breaking exercise.

The Norwegian team, winner of Best Idea 2008 rejoices in victory. From the left: Kaja Misvær, Martin Krafft, Marit Sagen, Silje Søfting, Jan Walter Parr, Kjetil Nordby, Kjetil Devig, Leif Isachsen, Martin Fougner was not there when the photo was taken. Photo: Claire Dennington