Different approaches to democratise design - are they equal?

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The democratisation of design permits greater stakeholder involvement in what has traditionally been a domain reserved for experts; the design process itself. This is enabled by technological advances in fields such as 3D printing, virtual reality and high-speed peer to peer communication technologies which have fuelled the development of new and innovative design methods. This paper compares and contrasts different approaches to the democratisation of design, and in particular, those that aim to involve wider stakeholders in the design process itself. Three different approaches(design by play, design by generation and crowdsourcing for design) are defined and contextualised within existing design frameworks and their respective suitabilities to democratise different design phases are considered. An exemplar use case of each approach is presented in order to assess how stakeholder engagement is affected by each democratising strategy. The discussion compares and contrasts the approaches with respect to their applicability and utility for different stages of the design process and how the power dynamics of the design process are altered when the different approaches are employed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the Design Society
Subtitle of host publicationInternational Conference on Engineering Design
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jul 2019
Event22nd International Conference on Engineering Design - Delft, Netherlands
Duration: 5 Aug 20198 Aug 2019

Publication series

PublisherCambridge University Press
ISSN (Electronic)2220-4342


Conference22nd International Conference on Engineering Design


  • Democratisation of Design
  • Collaborative design
  • Crowdsourcing
  • Design process
  • User centred design


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