Technical Report 2005-018

A Participatory Process Supporting Design of Future Work

Eva Olsson, Niklas Johansson, Jan Gulliksen, and Bengt Sandblad

30 May 2005

This paper illustrates how a participatory design process has developed as a result of empirical studies with workers. The view on design as a process presented here necessitates an explicit analysis of work where both workers and designers participate. The analysis gives workers a possibility to reflect on present and future work practices and to evaluate effects in advance. Moreover, it provides designers insights that facilitate design of support systems that match work complexity. It has often been argued that the full potential of a new IT-support system is not reached, but that only old work procedures are preserved. It is one of the purposes of our work re-design process to support creative changes of different nature. To ascertain that the complexity of work is acknowledged and that work redesign is enabled in the design process, we recommend that workers participate to a much higher degree than present. During a number of projects this process has successively developed. In this paper, the process is described, together with a selection of cases where it has been applied. Important experiences are the need for extensive user participation in the design process and the time and resources the process must be given.

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