Scandinavian Approaches to Participatory Design

Judith Gregory
Department of Informatics, University of Oslo
P.O. Box 1080 Blindern, N-0316 Oslo, Norway

What is distinctive about Scandinavian participatory design approaches? What can we learn from Scandinavian participatory design approaches that we can take into our own design practices, collaborations in design, and design pedagogy? The discussion argues that three principles distinguish Scandinavian approaches to participatory design: striving for democracy and democratisation; explicit discussions of values in design and imagined futures; and ways that conflicts and contradictions are regarded as resources in design. The author draws on recent experiences in Norway, in multi-disciplinary and international collaborations in health informatics. Background on Scandinavian approaches to participatory design is provided to give a sense of their distinctive history and critiques reflecting on problems and limits encountered. An instance of information systems interface design is presented in order to talk concretely about Scandinavian participatory design principles in contrast to mainstream systems design traditions in the United States.


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