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Week 2: Transdisciplinary Practice (ART724)

Updated: Mar 15

Week beginning 8th February 2024

Transdisciplinary Practice

This week we explored the themes within transdisciplinary practice and the ALIEN project. The ALIEN project is a series of Advanced Learning and Inclusive Environments (ALIEN) for Higher Education through greater knowledge and understanding of migration processes. The project aims to contribute to greater equity and social cohesion within Europe, through transnational and interdisciplinary  collaboration of academic staff, migrant organizations and students based in Greece, Poland, UK and Finland.

Relevant Professional Specialisms 

  • Design for public services

  • Design for social innovation

  • Design for policy

  • Participatory design/co-design

  • Customer experience design

  • Interaction design

  • Design thinking

  • Agile software development

  • Lean start-up

Design for public services

One of the sites in which the field of service design has emerged over the past decade has been public services. Examples include applying design expertise to public healthcare services.

Design for social innovation

This variant of design practice and research emphasises designers’ responsibilities to a broader range of publics than those traditionally associated with industrial and product design.

Design for policy

An emerging site for the application of design approaches currently being explored in local, central and regional government shaped by distinct local possibilities and accountabilities.

Participatory design/co-design

Is a field of design practice and research of which several variants exist. One tradition emerged in Scandinavia with the involvement of workers in software design, for example developing methods to involve people in democratic decision making about future products and services.

Customer experience design

Closely associated with digital innovation, the concept of user or customer experience emphasises the need to understand people’s experiences of products and services, and the integration of such research into their design and development.

Interaction design

This is a field of practice and research that exists in various forms, broadly concerned with the relationships between people and technologies. Variants include research that combines design-through-making or constructive design research in dialogue with interpretive social research.

Design thinking

These accounts of design thinking foreground the experiences that people – ‘users’ – have with objects. They propose that the common design activities of visualizing and prototyping future objects do not have to be limited to developing physical products but may be extended to services, strategies and policies.

Agile software development

Emerged over a decade ago emphasizing light documentation, many iterations, cross-disciplinary collaboration, a focus on the context of use and rapid development cycles.

Lean start-up

In a context in which many organisations are prioritizing innovation to address complex challenges, one development has been the argument that they should organize themselves to be more like entrepreneurs. Lean start-up is a popular approach increasingly visible in business and public sector contexts.


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