Critical Design for Responsible Innovation
Friday, May 19, 1:00 – 2:30 pm

This 90-minute workshop will introduce participants to the concept of “Critical Design” and its potential as strategy for fostering responsible innovation in the tech field. Session facilitators will share findings from an ongoing project focused on developing hands-on “toolkits” for teaching critical design methods to students and professionals in the tech sector. Attendees will then have a chance to try out these methods and collaboratively reflect on how they might be integrated into the design process within various academic, professional, and industry settings to cultivate more responsible and ethically oriented approaches to innovation.

Heather Love (Assistant Professor, English Language and Literature, University of Waterloo)

Additional Facilitators:
Alexi Orchard, University of Waterloo
Rebecca Sherlock, University of Waterloo

Workshop Schedule:

  • Welcome & Introductions
  • Activity #1: Stakeholder Identification
    • The workshop begins with a collaborative exercise in identifying stakeholders for specific tech-related design projects, highlighting the differences between “direct,” “indirect,” and/or “excluded” stakeholders, and emphasizing the importance of accounting for as broad a range of stakeholders as possible during the design process.
  • Activity #2: Value Identification
    • Drawing from Schwartz’s system of basic human values (1992), workshop facilitators will provide an overview of the concept of “values” and some strategies for mapping them. Working in small groups, participants will be tasked with mapping the values that apply to stakeholders identified in Activity #1.
  • Activity #3: Mapping Value Tensions
    • Facilitators will provide an introduction to the notion of “value tensions” (drawing on Friedman and Hendry’s work in Value Sensitive Design), and then ask groups to identify tensions among the stakeholders and values they have worked with. The group will reflect on the ways in which value tensions need to be carefully negotiated during the design process, and how responsible innovation/critical design/value sensitive design require that type of attentiveness.
  • Final Wrap-Up: Facilitators will revisit key takeaways from the discussion and offer suggestions for further resources that participants can consult to learn more about the ideas, frameworks, and strategies they have begun to explore in the workshop.