A Story of Journeys
Contemporary Design Facilitation
Keywords:design facilitation, social innovation, social field, strategic design
How is design itself transitioning and transforming as it moves into more complex domains of organizational and social change. In many of these contexts, designers now play roles as facilitators, working in complex systems and dynamic environments. Design facilitation itself is moving from being a vessel for participation and becoming a vehicle for organizational transformation and change. The authors use a case study of a multi-stakeholder international design facilitation project with UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality to highlight some of the critical features of a design facilitation process, from mediation and navigation of systems of power and hierarchy within organizations to an expansion of designerly duties ‘before’ and ‘after’ a design intervention. Reflecting on this experience the authors propose possible models for design facilitation to further develop its approach, and offer future questions for the nascent field as it develops into a critical component of contemporary design practice.