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Research Initiatives

designX students at work

designX is a team of teams.

As the research interests of the designX lab have developed over 30+ years, they are today the most diverse in the lab’s history. This diverse range helps to fuel an enriched and insightful environment for idea exchange, project development and pan-disciplinary collaboration as the lab advances its best practices in disciplined design research.

The initiatives within the designX lab that consist of two or more research projects include:

NeuroDesignScience Program

The NeuroDesignScience Program is a pan-disciplinary research program that aims to bring together researchers from different fields such as Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Psychology, and Design Science. The program examines two main areas (1) Neurocognitive and Neurophysiology processes during embodied design activities and (2) Design of Artificial Intelligence in the intersection of humans and technology. The HPDTR funded several studies in the intersection of "neuro" and "design" over the last four years.

Contact: Professor Larry Leifer and Jan Auernhammer

Business Design Research

The Human-centered Business Design (HBD) Research investigates the practices of management and design. Designing organizations creatively by enabling people in their capabilities is at the heart of any successful business. The research covers a variety of topics, including designing organizations, design thinking in organizations, design management, psychological safety in design thinking teams, business model design, and management of AI-systems. The lens through which we see organization and management is design and design research. Design practices are new competitive capabilities. The ability to develop innovative organizations and business models are necessary conditions to maintain long-term competitiveness. In dynamic, uncertain, and complex environments, it is no longer sufficient to base innovation on analytical models and well-defined mechanisms. Design is a crucial practice to transform products and services into unique customer value. Our engagement with Human-centered Business Design research provides insight into these new emerging practices.

Projects: Organizational Designing, Design Management, Psychological Safety in Design Thinking, Business Model Design, and Design Innovation Management

Contact: Jan Auernhammer

Design Thinking Research

The HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Research Program engages multidisciplinary research teams to scientifically investigate the phenomena of innovation in its many dimensions and different application contexts. In particular researchers are encouraged to develop ambitious, long-term explorations related to the innovation strategies of design thinking across domains of practice. The HPI-Stanford Design Thinking Research Program applies ;rigorous academic research methods to understand the scientific basis for how and why design thinking innovation works and fails. Researchers in the Program study the complex interaction between members of multi-disciplinary teams challenged to deliver breakthrough product, service, and business-model design innovations. An important feature of the design space is the need for creative collaboration across spatial, temporal, and cultural boundaries. In the context of disciplinary diversity, how might successful “team-of-teams” design thinking organizations mesh effectively with traditional engineering and management command-control organizations.

Projects: HPI - Stanford Design Thinking Research Program

Contact: Professor Larry Leifer

Food Design Research

The quality of experience is a significant component of human-centered design, and this research initiative takes a lead on the research of food experience design. In our hypothesis, chefs are the designers, and we study their cuisine processes by unpacking existing practices and engaging them in the formulation of new food products. Across inspirations, chefs create new dishes through prototyping, and we seek to capture their ideation and development through design research techniques and practices.

Projects: Berkeley - Stanford Food Innovation & Design Symposium, Food Design Thinking, Open Food Project

Contact: Sohyeong Kim

Foresight Design Research

The Foresight Design Research initiative emerged from conversations beginning in the early 2000s wherein CDR's research partners asked us to expand our focus; "How do people design for a future that doesn't exist today?" This initiative commits itself to researching, understanding and supporting organizations pursuing long-range innovation through user-centered design and research processes.

Projects: Design Foresight, The Urban Futures project, SUPERPUBLIC

Contact: Professor Larry Leifer, Professor Michael Shanks, Bill Cockayne

Human Innovation Engineering

Building on 30+ years of research into engineering design activity, this initiative conducts empirical and field research towards accelerating radical innovation by teams, organizations and regional ecosystems We study and model how humans innovate both at the interpersonal interaction level and the broader level of an organization or a regional innovation ecosystem, such as Silicon Valley. This research furthers our understanding of innovation as the outcome of an integrated system spanning individual mindset, interpersonal interaction dynamics, and physical, institutional, financial and knowledge infrastructure. We work with commercial firms, universities, foundations and cities to apply the insights gained from this understanding towards accelerating their innovation capability, and at the same time to further develop our models and metrics for innovation.

Projects: Interaction Dynamics Notation (IDN), Visual Diagnostics for Design Thinking Teams, VentureStudio Ahmedabad, VentureStudio Abeokuta, Innovation Ecosystem: Silicon Valley

Contact: Neeraj Sonalkar, Ade Mabogunje

Interaction Design Research

The advent of autonomous technologies are both exciting and alarming. Ironically, the success or failure of such systems will very much depend on how they interact with people: the need for strong communication, interface and interaction design grows larger rather than smaller in the age of autonomy. This Interaction Design Research initiative generates insight on how people will interact with robots and vehicles in the future We are particularly concerned with joint performance of task, recognizing human states, and opportunities of learning and adaptation By using simulation techniques, we can prototype and test interactions to understand how best to design our future.

Projects: (forthcoming)

Contact: David Sirkin

Resilience Design Research

Recent history suggests our built environment is subject to an increasing number of acute shock events and long-term stresses. Furthermore, historical evidence suggests the strength of these events is increasing. Researching resilience requires an examination of those design problems whose solutions will operate in unforeseeably volatile future contexts. However, designing for resilience reorganizes and reprioritizes the design requirements for forthcoming design solutions Urban dwellers are a user group with a particular vulnerability to failures of the built environment. Our Resilience Design Research initiative investigates the impact of these failures on its population as well as the expanded set of qualities required for resilience, including capacity during critical conditions, absorption, adaptability, operational dexterity and redundancy.

Projects: Resilient Urban Infrastructures, SUPERPUBLIC, House+, 2015 US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition

Contact: Chris Ford