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DIS 2014 Workshop

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Environments for creative interaction design processes

DIS 2014 workshop, Vancouver: June 21, 2014


The field of interaction design deals with the development and use of interactive products, systems and services. It is an interventionist discipline in that it aims at transforming the current state of events through the introduction of something novel. Some interaction design projects radically rethink and transform the situation, whereas others incrementally develop existing systems and practices; however, creativity plays a crucial role in most interaction design projects due to this transformative agenda.

In this workshop, we will explore how insights into the creative nature of design can inform the ways we set up the environments and spaces in which design processes unfold.

As an example of how we may think about improving the environments for creative design, consider the role of IT in creative processes. Today, more and more forms of creative design practice involve a repertoire of digital devices ranging from tablets over desktop computers to electronic whiteboards and wall-sized displays. But still, many creative practices to a large extent still rely on physical materials and tools like for instance pen and paper, Post-It notes and whiteboards, which are not connected to nor supported by digital means. A particular challenge could then be to examine how physical environments may be augmented by ICT to blend the power of digital computing and the physical environment.

In this context, the workshop will explore a number of themes related to creative design processes, and then follow up with activities to discuss how these insights can help us sett up environments or spaces that support creative activities. The themes of the workshop include, but are not limited to, the following aspects.

1. Blended interaction environments. Blended Interaction is interaction in physical environments augmented by ICT to blend the power of digital computing and the physical environment. Blended Interaction seeks to combine the virtues of physical and digital artifacts in a complimentary way, so that the desired properties of each are preserved. Blended Interaction Spaces bridge personal and collaborative computing, e.g. by letting personal devices such as phones and tablets be used as interaction devices for large shared displays, or by combining interactive tables and white­boards with physical tools such as pen and paper.

2. Individual and social activities. While creativity research has historically focused on the individual lone genius creator that notion has recently been challenged by researchers arguing for team-based creativity [7]. But the individual vs. social creation dichotomy is artificial: real-life creativity almost always takes place in both spheres, albeit at different times, at the workshop we will investigate how digitally augmented design environments may facilitate seamless integration of individual creative sessions (e.g. using iPads and mobile phones) with collaborative ones (e.g. using wall sized displays in combination with iPads), hereby allowing for ideas to travel across platforms and contextual boundaries.

3. Creativity constraints. Leading creativity scholars argue that constraints are integral to the creative process; in spite of this, research into constraints has been limited and it will therefore be at the vanguard of future creativity research [9]. Although constraints act as obstructions in a process by determining what cannot be done, they also give rise to new opportunities and inspire creative breakthroughs [2], but what is the nature of creativity constraints and how can they be balanced and managed in a creative process?

4. Transformation of design ideas. It is generally acknowledged that sources of inspiration plays as crucial role in creative processes, and Eckert and Stacey [3] distinguish between the various specific roles of sources of inspiration: starting point in design; precedents; reuse of an existing component; and prime generators. The workshop will investigate the emergence of design ideas [5] and study the transformation of design ideas across digital devices and physical material.

5. Generative design materials. Schön [8] coined the term generative metaphors, generative in the sense that "it generated new perceptions, explanations, and inventions" (ibid 259). But the concept may be extended to generative design materials in order to examine how generative design materials, digital as well as physical, spur ideation and create momentum in a creative process.

6. Creativity methods. A number of interaction design methods support ideation and creativity [1] e.g. Future Workshops [6] and Inspiration Card Workshops [4].Methods differ in several ways, for instance with respect to degree of structure, convergence and divergence, and the role of sources of inspiration. Of particular interest in the context of the workshop is how methods be supported in a digitally augmented design environment. 

To participate

In order to address various perspectives on and approaches to creativity in interaction design processes, and to promote cross-pollination of ideas across these varying perspectives in the workshop, we invite contributions in the following categories:

1) Design methods and techniques

Specific methods or techniques, preferably well-tested in practice, that are intended to facilitate creativity and innovation in design processes. These may address ways of involving users throughout all or stretches of a design process, or they may focus on specific events such as workshops, mock-up sessions etc. Contribu­tions may also present methods or techniques that facilitate turning creative and innovative user input into viable design solutions.

2) Theoretical perspectives

We also invite contributions that address ways of understanding, analysing and discussing creativity and innovation in the design process. These may address the nature of creativity, theories on collaborative innovation, transformation of ideas into design solutions, artefact-mediated innovation etc.

3) Case studies

We further invite participants to contribute with case studies including micro-analytic studies of design sessions that present examples of processes leading to successful innovative design solutions. The case studies should focus on the process by which the innovative solutions came forth rather than on the resulting products or prototypes. Through the selection of participants for the workshop we will strive to cover a broad range of domains from urban settings, the workplace, the home, as well as digital art.

We are also soliciting proposals for hand-on activities in which a specific method for collaborative design innovation is carried out by workshop participant.

The format for position paper is 2-4 pages in the ACM Extended Abstract format: http://chi2013.acm.org/authors/format/

Submission and deadline

Submissions must be mailed to

Deadline: March 21, 2014.

Workshop organizers

Kim Halskov, Aarhus University, CAVI-PIT,  has been active in the area of co-operative design for the past 25 years and is currently director of CAVI and Center for Participatory IT.

Peter Dalsgaard, Aarhus University, CAVI-PIT, combines practice-based experimental interaction design research and theoretical develop­ments aimed at improving the understanding of design processes. 

www.CAVI.au.dk   www.PIT.au.dk


Biskjaer, M., Dalsgaard, : & Halskov, K. : Creativity methods in interaction design. In the proceedings of DESIRE 2010.

Biskjær, M.B. and Halskov, K.: Decisive constraints as a creative resource in interaction design. Digital Creativity vol 25, 1, 2014, (27-61).

Eckert, C., & Stacey, M. Sources of inspiration: A language of design. Design Studies 21, (5), 2000, 523-38.

Halskov, K. & Dalsgaard, P. Inspiration Card Workshops. Proceedings of DIS 2006, 2006, 2-11.

Halskov, K., Dalsgaard, P. The Emergence of Ideas: The interplay between sources of inspiration and emerging design concepts. Journal of CoDesign, 3 (4), 2007, 185–211.

Jungk, R. & Müllert, N. Future Workshops: How to create desirable futures. Institute for Social Inventions, London, 1987.

Sawyer, K. (2012). Explaining creativity. The science of human innovation. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.

Schön, D. (1979): Generative Metaphor: A perspective on Problem-Setting in Social Policy. In Ortony, A. (ed) (1979): Metaphor and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (254-283).

Sternberg, R. J. & Kaufman, J. C. (2010). Constraints on creativity: Obvious and not so obvious . In J. C. Kaufman & R. J. Sternberg (Eds.), The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity. (pp. 467-482). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.