Ageing in place(s): cases to introduce solution-focused design methodology for ageing innovation

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Social innovation, Design thinking, Ageing, Community, Service design


This paper presents our reflection on a series of action research projects. The authors, a design researcher and a sociologist, conducted three collaborative research projects with three design schools with a view to engaging local people from those cities in design activities. During the projects we worked with local older volunteers in London, built relationships with local residents in a new town in Hong Kong and created interactions with a group of intellectuals within a university campus in Beijing. In this paper, we focus on one of the central questions posed in the project: How people design their own lives and how their insights can eventually become innovative services for all? How these experiences can become knowledge that will benefit design education as well as design competence? Through conducting different design activities with different actors, our aim was to sensitise people especially retirees to their valuable designing effort in their living strategies. The objective of this paper is to reflect on our continuing development in exploring the solution-focused approach to the process of design participation. We believe that design participation is not a political stance but is arrived at through methodological necessity. Our attempt was to objectify and substantiate people’s ingenuity towards their own lives/living strategies and analyse three forms of designerly ways to enable older people to co-design products-services-programmes for our future selves.

Source Publication

Cumulus Conference 2012, May 24-26, Helsinki, Finland

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