Who is Pär-Ola Zander?
eLearning Lab, Aalborg University
Sub-group ICT4D (Information Technology
Main focus: Design & evaluation of ICT,
Group in formation
10 current active members
05/04/2013 09:19ICT4D - Google Maps
Aim of the talk
Topic: The relationship between
Participatory design and Development
What is known?
Why? ICT4D popularity, upcoming PDC in
The Scandinavian tradition, starting with
NJMF, DUE, DEMOS…
Leading up to the Collective Resource
approach and cooperative design
Later becoming part of the larger
Participatory Design community
In short; a tradition with strategies,
methods and theories for PD
The Scholarly study of improving societies;
in particular with respect to those areas
that are somehow relatively lagging
Interdisciplinary field; Economists;
sociologists; Aid; various technology
disciplines (e.g. Agriculture) and more
(Good introduction: Willis, 2005)
Development in developed countries
(ICT4D examples: LeDantec & Edwards,
2008, Qvortrup, 1989)
ICT4D: Will not survey history of this
research field closely here
Note that ICT4D is equally a professional,
(see Patra, 2009)
D for Development
Toyama (2010): Development = international development
Development or international Development?
”international” contains presuppositions that the community/action
researcher is from a Western country
Why is it ”international” to develop Bangladesh, but not Norway?
Global development may be less flawed
Is development always a wicked problem?
Like software ”development”, sometimes it can denote quite
Toyama (2): Development as negatively defined: not interested in
the ” the well-being of the relatively rich and powerful”
1) Far away from common sense meaning of development
2) Studies of making advantaged groups more happy/stimulate
economic growth are conceivable – but very seldom published
it is largely true for ICT4D! (it is the 4)
The relationship between PD
and Development resarch -
NJMF; DUE; DEMOS; PD did not start with the weak
but with a stakeholder on the rise
PD has dealt with the marginalised at least since the
Participation in this region is not new
The Ahmedabad project (Rice, 1958)
PRA (Participatory rural approach)
PAR (Participatory Action Research)
The reaction: Participation: the new tyranny? (Cooke &
The relationship has been studied before: Dearden &
Ritzi (2008); Ho et al (2009); Toyama (2010); Zander
Methodological Overlap & techniques in
Qualitative work is respected
”deep understanding” acknowledged
Design & Iterative prototyping
between PD and DR
HCI4D – an established field?
No established conference?
Interpreted as a subfield of HCI and
ICT4D, not development research
(Winthers & Toyoma)
Similarities and ”deep”
Capacity building (Dearden, 2008)
Main research theme in development
research and practice
Collective Ressource Approach can be
The roles of national unions, local unions and
HCI as ”needs-based” HCI – In developing
countries, people’s needs are addressed to
less extent (Toyama, 2010)
Techniques in common
Dearden & Rizvi (2009) – overviews of
(Example: Chambers, 2002 as a handbook for
running workshops generally)
Participation and hidden
Vigilant debate in development resarch
about ”participation: the new tyranny”?
Example: Is participation typically co-opted?
Tool for elite?
This can be found in PD too; but DR has a rich
The long-term perspective on participation:
Luther and reformation? (Henkel & Stirrat,
Toyama: HCI is criticized for generally
demonstrating happy users with benefits, but not
development (increased literacy, GNI, etc.)
For PD: Stop when the alternative is formulated?
The difference in profession
Practicality vs. Technical dazzle
Surprisingly, action research is not so common
Route to scale
” HCI comprises a unique, complete theory of
problem solving” (Toyama, 2010)
With a relatively high degree of methodological
and philosophical rigour
Difference in Scale and Scope
PD: Open with regards to aims, researcher tool
Participatory development: Reached widespread
participation is often a practitioner tool, not resulting in
The first issue is the difference in scale and scope
between participatory design and participatory
Example: Kecataman Development Project
85 Billion USD over last decade (Mansuri, World Bank,
Mass adoption by professionals is a fact
Participatory design (of content): Wikipedia
Research Method or double
My interpretation of PD:
Inspired by Argyris (1985); no absolute tool
division between researchers and
Not true for all fields; Compare with e.g.
In Development research
Mainly a practitioner tool
It is atypical to see use of PRA methods that
are later reported to research community
The issue of Control and
Claim: It is standard practice within PD to be in firm
control of each step that generates data
This is not so in e.g. Participatory Rural Appraisal (see
e.g. Narayanasamy, 2009)
Example: Persona Admin workshop
Local organiser tend to lead to decreased
Interpreter facilitation favours ”methodological
Turbulence favours ”methodological minimalism”
This calls for decreased focus on PROCEDURE
Points of orientation?
Cockton on ”domain tourism”
What can ICT4D bring back?
Other cultures of participation?
Nussbaum (2000, chapter 1): Universal values
Islam: Quran dictates deliberation
Zulu: Chief needed to convince counsellers
Hinduism & Buddhism: Deliberative institutions since 400 B.C.
Those institutions have their own shortcomings
My argument: We can learn about new forms of
participation through development research – or design
praxis as a striving towards participation
Context still matters
References (in no particular order)
Zander, P.-O., Georgsen, M., & Nyvang, T. (2011). Scandinavian Participatory Design - Beyond Design,
Beyond Scandinavia. Presented at the The Joint Nordic conference for the Nordic Development Research
Retrieved from http://fau.dk/httpdocs/NC/Abstracts_and_papers/Papers/
Le Dantec, C. A., & Edwards, W. K. (2008). Designs on dignity: perceptions of technology among the
homeless (p. 627). ACM Press. doi:10.1145/1357054.1357155
Willis, K. (2005). Theories and practices of development. London ; New York, NY: Routledge.
Qvortrup, L. (1989). The Nordictelecottages: Community teleservice centres for rural regions.
Telecommunications Policy, 13(1), 59–68.
Patra, R., Pal, J., & Nedevschi, S. (2009). State of the union: where have we reached and where are we
headed. In ICTD’09. Piscataway.
Toyama, K. (2010). Human–Computer Interaction and Global Development. Foundations and Trends® in
Human–Computer Interaction, 4(1), 1–79. doi:10.1561/1100000021
Dearden, A., & Rizvi, H. (2008). Participatory IT design and participatory development: a comparative
review. In Proceedings of the Tenth Anniversary Conference on Participatory Design 2008 (pp. 81–91).
Indianapolis, IN, USA: Indiana University. Retrieved from http://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=1795234.1795246
Henkel, H., Stirrat, R., Cooke, B., & Kothari, U. (n.d.). Participation as spiritual duty: Empowerment as secular
subjection. In Participation: The new tyranny. Norfolk: Zed Books.
Barron, P. (2011). Contesting development: participatory projects and local conflict dynamics in Indonesia.
New Haven: Yale University Press.
”One of the great strengths of both the
HCI and ICT4D communities is their
capacity for reflection and self-
critique.” (Toyama (MS research India),
2010, p. 23)