My research addresses the roles of users and designers in the design process. It focuses especially on the early phases of the design process, where the input from and dialogue with users can play a contributing role to new creative ideas. This research programme is based on my former activities; contextmapping and communicating rich experience information to design companies.

I critically explore how users can play a contributing role, by giving them various roles, such as informers, everyday users, lead users, experts of their experiences or even co-designers in several stages of the design process. These various roles imply various roles for designers and facilitators as well during the encounters with users. Moreover designers often need to involve not only users but several stakeholders as well, which implies new skills and approaches for designers.

Current PhD students:

  • Joanna Rutkowska (started 2015). Generative tools to explore near interaction futures.
  • Marieke Zielhuis (started 2019). Extracting Design Knowledge from Research through Design projects.

Currently I work on several follow ups of the MyFutures project with local partners. I was project lead of MyFutures (funded project (2016-2018) under the Research through Design Programme of NWO and in collaboration with Design Academy Eindhoven and many other partners). We investigate how people can be supported by new services in growing old in our changing society.

My current research interests in these projects and beyond:

  • theory and practice of journey mapping
  • theory and practice of empathic design
  • theory and practice of user- and stakeholder involvement in innovation process
  • developing education for service design perspective

My past research activities:

  • Copromotor (2008-2012) in PhD project Helma van Rijn. Helma investigated how designers can get insight into difficult to reach user groups, e.g. children with autism or people with dementia (2007-2011)
  • supervision of researcher Menno Manschot. Menno focuses on how a user-centred approach can be evaluated in terms of effectivity. He has been developing a measuring tool that involves ROI, customer satisfaction questionnaires and add qualitative data to measure the effect of a user centred approach. This project was part of an ongoing Service Design project with several design agencies for Utrecht Central Station. (2010-2013)
  • Ford Service Innovation Methodology. Enabling Ford Research and Innovation Center with the service design methodology at our Faculty through a series of graduation projects, trainings and workshops. Period March 2016-September 2017.
  • project management and coordinating role of action researchers in several user-centred design cases of service design agencies around Utrecht Central Station(2010-2013). This is part of the Innovation in Services Programme