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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:

Business Model Innovation

The ability to develop innovative business models is an essential condition to maintain long-term competiveness. In a dynamic and complex market environment, it is no longer sufficient to grow on innovation mechanisms limited to products and processes. The innovation of business models is the key element to transform innovative products into unique customer value. Our engagement with business model research provides insight into both the enablers and inhibitors of creating and transferring innovation between a range of stakeholders.

Projects: Business Model Innovation Certificate (w/ University of St. Gallen)

Contact: Professor Larry Leifer, Professor Oliver Gassman (University of St. Gallen)

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

Healthcare Design Research

The Healthcare Design Research program is a unique, multi-disciplinary research initiative at the interface of engineering and medicine. This initiative was established in 2013 with research aimed at improving the usability and utility of new products, systems, and services in the healthcare field, in an effort to achieve a seamless integration into patients’ and providers’ lives. Through a human-centric approach, we use the design and evaluation of new technological innovations as a platform for research. We work closely on joint collaborations with colleagues from the Stanford School of Medicine, Stanford Health Care, and industry partners on several ongoing research efforts. The work often involves the design of health IT and mechatronics “smart” systems solutions – with the goal of transitioning from episodic and reactive care to proactive and continuous health care delivery Research areas include: (i) Design, innovation & product/process development; (ii) Socio-technical systems design and analysis; and (iii) Technology assessment.

Projects: Human Technology Teamwork, ABRACA.D, Design Thinking in Health IT Systems Engineering, d.Flex, The Design of Physical Enhancements for Google Glass, Pediatric Device CoDesign, Design Thinking Health, d.Modular, Design to Reduce Suffering During Pediatric Stem Cell Transplantation, The anatomy of creative computing, Smartphone-based system for learning and inferring hearing aid settings

Contact: Lauren Aquino Shluzas

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: Wendy Ju

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