The Design:Lab as platform in participatory design research

Thomas Binder, Eva Brandt


The notion of laboratory or simply ‘lab’ has become popular in recent years in areas outside science and technology development. Learning Labs, Innovation Labs, Usability Labs, Media and Communication Labs and even Art Labs designate institutions or fora dedicated to change and experimentation. Influenced by these currents, we use the expression ‘Design:Lab’ as a shorthand description of open collaborations between many stakeholders sharing a mutual interest in design research in a particular field. Many have reacted to the term ‘laboratory’ or ‘lab’ as foreign and awkward to design, and we as well as others have frequently used other metaphors like workshop, studio or atelier in design research. In this article we will argue that the laboratory metaphor is particularly suitable and useful for the Design:Lab, and we will give examples of how we have worked with the Design:Lab as a platform for collaborative inquiries and knowledge production based on design experiments. 


Design Lab, Policy Design

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@Annual Review of Policy Design ISSN: ISSN 2291-6989