The Ideas Café: engaging the public in design research

Arun Ulahannan, Rebeccca Cain, Gunwant Dhadyalla, P. Jennings, Stewart Birrell, Michael James Waters

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceedingpeer-review

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The Ideas Café brings together members of the public with domain experts to stimulate conversation in a high energy, highly collaborative participatory event. We aimed to explore how multi-disciplinary automotive design research could be accomplished using this tool. The automotive industry is now on the cusp of a design and technology revolution with the advent of driverless vehicles, and it is important to understand the social aspects of this technological change. Trust has been shown to play a major role in our ability to correctly and safely use autonomous systems, so understanding the facets of its development is critical. As experts in this field (in design, engineering and policy), we wanted to explore the potential of the ‘Ideas Café’ format as a channel for exploring the public’s needs for the design of future driverless cars and systems. 36 participants attended our Ideas Café event held at the Coventry Transport Museum in June 2017. We found that participants were highly engaged and the event provided practical user data which was valuable for design, engineering and policy. The results also provided recommendations for how designers could run similar participatory events for their own research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of DRS2018
EditorsCristiano Storni, Keelin Leahy, Muireann McMahon, Erik Bohemia, Peter Lloyd
PublisherDesign Research Society
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-912294-28-2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2018
EventDRS (Design Research Society) 2018 International Conference - Limerick, Ireland
Duration: 25 Jun 201828 Jun 2018


ConferenceDRS (Design Research Society) 2018 International Conference
Abbreviated titleDRS2018
Internet address

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