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Participatory Design in Consulting

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This article addresses the use of participatory design (PD) techniques in non-research projects from the perspective of consulting. The central categories for analyzing the course of action and the relationship of actors are risks perceived by consultants, customers, and clients. The basis of this article is a large number of consulting projects where participatory techniques were used. Overall it seems feasible to use PD in consulting. Still using PD, especially as a consultant in systems-design, has to be considered risky for both consultants and customers. Therefore techniques that reduce risks are crucial. Several such techniques are well known (steering committee, milestones, prototyping). Some additional, more PD-specific techniques are discussed. The analysis further led to the issues of organizing the technical process and the group process. Both processes are important when using PD in consulting. The technical process assumes responsibility and thereby requires involvement in order to secure contracts. At the same time this conflicts with the group process where neutrality is needed. Therefore, separation of facilitation from design by working in teams of two is considered. This also supports the expertise needed for such projects as it is sometimes difficult to find individuals with both qualifications.


Gärtner, Johannes (36039): Participatory Design in Consulting. Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW): Vol. 7. DOI: 10.1023/A:1008635121175. Springer. PISSN: 1573-7551. pp. 273-289