Conference Tracks

DDR 2014 Track Information


Tracks :

1. Design for social innovation and sustainability
2. Software Design for Resource-constrained Environments
3. Visual Art and Design Education
4. Game Design for Participation
5. Design and Climate Futures
6. E-Government for Development
7. Regenerative Design and Sustainable African City Building
8. Digital Literacy and Leadership
9. Design to Empower
10. Successful Implementation
11. Challenges in humans’ well-being: innovative product design
12. Design-enriched Information Systems
13. ICT4D (Information Technology and empowerment)
14. Nanosatellite applications towards sustainable socio-economic development
15. Business Design

1. Design for social innovation and sustainability

“Social innovation is a new idea that works in meeting social goals” (Mulgan, 2007). In other words, social innovation can be seen as a process of change emerging from the creative re-combination of existing assets (social capital, historical heritage traditional craftsmanship, accessible advanced technology) and aiming at achieving socially recognized goals in new ways. A kind of innovation driven by social demands rather than by the market and/or autonomous techno-scientific research, and generated more by the actors involved than by specialists.

Over the past decade social innovation has spread: institutions, enterprises, non-profit organizations and, most of all, networks of collaborative people have moved outside mainstream models of thinking and doing, generating a variety of promising initiatives such as community-supported agriculture, co-housing, carpooling, community gardens, neighbourhood care, talent exchange and time banks. These initiatives propose viable solutions to complex problems of the present (e.g., social cohesion, urban regeneration, healthy food accessibility, water and sustainable energy management) and, at the same time, they represent working prototypes of sustainable ways of living.

Indeed, social innovation processes require visions, strategies and co-design tools to move from these emerging ideas to mature solutions and viable programs. That is, they ask for new design capabilities that, as a whole, can be defined as design for social innovation. (from DESIS Network website:

Alignment: The track is aligned with the following focus areas:

  • Design and Sustainability
  • Human and social dynamics.

We invited a wide range of contributions, for example:

– case studies: description and analysis of social innovation cases
– social innovation cases in informal settlements/ underserved communities
– social innovation and the public sector/policies
– social innovations as new business models
– social innovations as services (service design)
– didactic activities towards social innovation: design schools as agents of change
– practices on design for social innovation
– methodological approaches on design for social innovation

2. Software Design for Resource-constrained Environments

Despite massive improvement in network infrastructure in developing countries, there is still strong evidence which indicates that communication networks are not only unreliable, but also costly in terms of bandwidth.

The number of mobile devices with the capability of consuming networked applications is on the rise. Users of these devices have had to put up with lack of responsiveness in the services they consume. Lack of responsiveness is manifested in the form of pauses and glitches while scrolling content, user interfaces that freezing while loading data from storage, applications that don’t give progress updates to let users know what’s happening, failing to complete work that we initiated, staring at a spinner while data is fetched from the network, and the list goes on.

These issues cause even more traffic on the already constrained infrastructure because of users repeated actions to try and get some service from the infrastructure. Additionally, these repeated actions also put a strain on the energy of the devices themselves.

Can better designs be introduced to deal with these issues? What kind of software design architectures can we introduce in a resource constrained environment? How do we introduce designs that efficiently use the precious bandwidth resource? With mobile devices increasingly becoming the primary computing platform, can we come up with software designs that do not put too much strain on the battery life on these devices?

The track aligned with the Development thread as we were looking at finding design ideas that could go into the development of products that will function in a resource constrained environment.

While IT might appear not to have an obvious impact on energy, it is a known fact that a badly written algorithm can make a device consume a lot of power. Furthermore, networked applications are the biggest consumers of energy on a device. If applications can be designed to minimise network chatter, there is some energy savings that could be achieved.

Example topic and type of contribution that were sought:

– Disconnected Architectures: Design of Systems that stay responsive in the face of connectivity loss
– Energy Efficient Algorithms: Algorithms designs that can reduce energy consumption on mobile devices and Servers.

3. Visual Art and Design Education

Design Education is seldom foregrounded in general educational circles, and it is internationally recognized that the Arts are marginalized subjects. However, Design as a subject forms one of the choices for matriculation in the FET phase, and it is inherent in the teaching of Visual Art in the GET Phase in this country. Meaningful Visual Art Education, which encompasses Design education in the GET Phase, provides a stable platform for the development of unique, creative and thinking human beings who are capable of being innovative and inventive. When children and young adults are exposed to sound Visual Art and Design Education, these disciplines move from the periphery as an elitist notion into an enriched experience of daily life. This conference provided an ideal forum for Art and Design educators to present their personal Designs and Dilemmas, as they connect to discuss the human and social dynamics of Art and Design Education.

We see this as an opportunity to bring art educationalists together in a forum to examine and explore the dilemma of Visual Art and Design Educational practices.

Alignment: The track is aligned to the threads in the following way:

  • Design: Educators from all phases will be invited to share their successes as presentations, posters or workshops;
  • Dilemma: Educators may share challenges, tensions and complexities of Visual Art and Design education.
  • Research: Opportunities are presented for Visual Art and Design research, and particularly for action research practices.

Focus area: human and social dynamics human and social dynamics:
Education is about human and social dynamics, and good educational practices explore these dynamics in innovative, enquiring and unique ways.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions that were sought

– The challenges of Design Education in the FET Phase
– The dilemma of the Generalist Teacher
– Teacher Education for Visual Art and Design Educators
– Teaching Design/Visual Art in Under-resourced Schools
– Technology and Arts Education: The pitfalls and possibilities

Universal Design for Learning
Universal Design in Education (UDE) provides a philosophical framework for the design of a broad range of educational products and environments. These include: computer and science labs, curriculum, educational software, instruction, libraries, professional organizations, registration options, student housing and residential life, websites, and other student services.

Universal design for learning (UDL), especially as it applies to the technology-based curriculum defines UDL as “a research-based set of principles that together form a practical framework for using technology to maximize learning opportunities for every student” (Rose & Meyer, 2002). When UDL is applied, curriculum designers create products to meet the needs of students with a wide range of abilities, learning styles, and preferences. The UDL curriculum “reflects an awareness of the unique nature of each learner and the need to address differences”.

Universal Design for Learning aligns with the conference thread ‘Research’ as it fundamentally deals with research dealing with the adoption of technology in education and the focus area ‘Human and Social dynamics’ as the human and social underpinnings of technology in education needs to be carefully considered in order to deepen our understanding of a socio-technical world.

Exemplar topics

1. Class Climate: The adoption of technological practices that reflect high values with respect to both diversity and inclusiveness.
2. Interaction: Design that encourages regular and effective technological interactions between students and the instructor and ensures that communication methods are accessible to all participants.

– Programme evaluations
– Google accredited teachers

3. Products: Design ensures that facilities, activities, materials, and equipment are accessible to and usable by all students.

– Technology to improve teaching (e.g. Smart board in the classroom, clickers, podcasting, blogging)
– Web 2.0 applications (e.g. wikis, prezi, word clouds, glogster, twitter, facebook, youtube, google applications)
– Description of programmes
– Programme evaluations
– Educational software
– Curriculum development

4. Delivery Methods: The use of multiple, accessible instructional methods that are accessible to all students.

– Instruction models (e.g. Design thinking)
– Teaching with technology (e.g. Smart board in the classroom, clickers, podcasting, blogging)
– Web 2.0 applications (e.g. wikis, prezi, word clouds, glogster, twitter, facebook, youtube, google applications)
– Information resources

5. Feedback and assessment: Using technology to provide specific feedback on a regular basis and assess student progress using multiple, accessible methods and tools and adjust instruction accordingly.

Types of contributions that were sought

– Short papers (4 pages or 2500 words)
– Events (2 pages)
– Pecha Kuchas (a presentation style in which 20 slides are shown for 20 seconds each (six minutes and 40 seconds in total). The format, which keeps presentations concise and fast-paced, empowers multiple-speaker events ).

4. Game Design for Participation

How can game design, development & research contribute to solving real world challenges in developing communities? What are the latest research findings relevant to the application of game-based learning and engagement technologies within the African context? How can digital inclusion challenges in using game-based technologies be accommodated within the African context? What case study lessons in business, government, education, healthcare and the informal sector applications are available for African academics and practitioners?

Full papers; short papers; case studies and technology demonstrations welcomed

5. Design and Climate Futures

Today, there are increasing calls for new strategies for translating knowledge about Climate Change into relevant actions. Too much focus seems to be directed towards the understanding of how the climate will probably become and what it requires in terms of mitigation and adaption. In comparison, too little progress seems to have been made towards implementing actions that really can facilitate the changes the situation requires. And seemingly very unfair, the ones that initially will be most affected are primarily to be found among the 80% of the global population that both are most vulnerable and least guilty of causing the problem.

Today the Climate Change research communities seem to be quite alone in really under¬standing the magnitude of the problem and how the windows of opportunity to address the issue are closing in before our very eyes. In general these scientists are trained to focus on understanding climate change, per se, with no real competence to suggest and orchestrate the changes the present situation seems to require. This is where design , concerned with both potential and actual change, might add a constructive, and potentially fruitful addition to current discourses of climate change.

The track: Design and Climate Futures, therefore invited original and thought provoking submissions about how we as designers, in the shadow of present Climate Change, can best address Ecological- and Social Sustainability. In what way can we, as designers, be especially useful, compared to, and in cooperation with, other disciplines with other skill-sets? What kind of approaches from our side could make a difference that really makes a difference? In this track we hoped to establish an open and creative arena based on a diversity of ideas concerning these urgent matters that could be discussed at the DDR14 conference in Cape Town.

6. E-Government for Development

Global trends are seeing governments becoming more participatory in their efforts to promote development. Institutional cohesion and the integration of administration that are facilitated by information and communication technologies have a huge potential in contributing to social and economic development. Communities in developing contexts face daunting challenges mainly caused by lack of effective operation of government and the public sector. While e-government is not a panacea to improved government, it is an important ingredient. The adoption by national administrations of information and communication technologies to deliver public services has long been recognised as central to supporting higher quality provision of services, expanded engagement with citizens, and better policy outcomes.

As a designed information systems artefact, e-government is closely aligned to the development thread. The thrust of e-government is fostering development and growth through increased efficiency and effective of government. An efficient government becomes more proactive, improves transparency and generally reduces operating expenses. The new organizational model whose foundations lie in ICTs can support new ways of thinking and working in public administration which are consistent with economic growth and development.

Examples of Topics:

  • E-government in developing countries
  • Inter-Organizational Collaboration in public enterprises
  • Development Methods for e-government
  • Emerging trends in e-government research
  • E-Participation, e-Citizenship, and Digital Democracy
  • Open and Participatory Government
  • Planning and design of e-government education programs
  • E-government Infrastructure and Interoperability

7. Regenerative Design and Sustainable African City Building

This track explored how regenerative design research can be used as a tool to develop new models for African City Design and Development.

African cities are faced with a major challenge of addressing the impacts of unplanned growth, overcrowding and mitigating a history of unsustainable development practices. Naturally, the earth’s ecological system has amazing capacity to heal when damaged or undergo an iterative process of recreation. However, the negative impacts of urban development have served as an impediment to this process.

Regenerative design describes the processes that restore, renew or revitalise their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature (Wikipedia). What happens when the role of urban development can shift and become the main catalyst in the regeneration of the natural ecosystems? How can this process of regeneration be extended to social, economic and environmental development?

This track is connected to, and attempted to, challenge the Design & Sustainability thread. The connection is reflected in the desire to discover new approaches to sustainable development. In contrast, the track proposes to push the boundaries and seek projects that benefit humanity by positively affecting livelihoods through the renewal, restoration and rehabilitation of natural ecosystems.

Exemplar Topics:

– The type of contributions that were sought were examples of how the research of ecological systems has been applied to the design of human settlements or to address a problem in African urban development.

– An example: Research exploration of wetland restoration that results in an increase in marine life, reduction of air pollution, formation of aquatic industry and the improvement of health for the community.

– Another example: Research on the restructuring of unplanned urban growth and the restoration of natural wetlands as a strategy to address urban flooding.

8. Digital Literacy and Leadership

Digital literacy as leadership challenge: what is a digitally literate leader? What is a digitally literate organisation?

What are the elements of digital literacy? Is there a rank order of digital literacy elements? Can digital literacy be taught? What are the latest research findings relevant to academics and practitioners? What case study lessons in business, government, education, healthcare and the informal sector applications are available for African academics and practitioners?
Full papers; short papers; case studies were welcomed

9. Design to Empower

Design must address the needs and demands of the large strata of the society that is in the lower half of the development pyramid. With the focus on raising their standard of living and improving their quality of life, the products and services should be designed and developed such that the poor of the world can afford. These solutions should generate new employment opportunities utilising existing skills and resources, while preserving the values of their societies. Involving and encouraging people through participatory approach, design need to work here as catalyst to bring together all the various efforts towards positive outcome, thereby empowering people at the grassroots level. Thus help create an equitable and sustainable society

The track offered a platform to discuss, debate and share views and experiences highlighting design methodologies that are based on local context.

The track expected to create platform to discuss and share views, ideas and experiences highlighting participatory and people centric design approaches and methodologies to solve individual / local problems. While collating variety of such experiences and approaches, the track created an opportunity to understand their unique characteristics, strengths and their scope.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions that were sought:

 Case studies, discussions on approaches, needs and benefits of such approaches, scope for their further refinements, systemisation, scaling up etc.

10. Successful Implementation

Successful implementations are largely aligned to the development thread. It is during development that projects move from the ideas stage to delivery. It is also here where the potential for success of the implementation is determined. For developing communities this late determination of the impact of an implementation can be devastating.

Since the implementation of systems, products and ideas present opportunities for both economic growth and economic disaster it also links to the dilemma thread. The complexities and realities of development emerge at implementation. Similarly, issues of viability and impact contribute to the tensions and failures experienced at implementation. Strategies and solutions are needed which guide implementations to success.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions that were sought

The Successful Implementation track will explore
– What causes projects to fail en route from the ideas to the delivery stage
– Delivery mechanisms which assist in shifting credible designs into viable solutions
– Risk management and other mitigating strategies
– Key challenges pre, post or at implementation
– Economic, social and developmental impact of failed implementations.

11. Challenges in humans’ well-being: innovative product design

Globally, we are facing enormous challenges in the area of health care and our wellbeing.
Hospitals become overfull, residential care becomes less accessible and a big number of (elderly) people live in isolation because of this. Because of ‘the speed of life’ we tend to ignore each other and allow the public services to take care of these problems. The increase of cases is problematic.

There are good examples of technical innovative products. Bernabei et al. [1] indicate a positive effect on communication and coping ability for elderly patients affected by dementia or psychiatric disorders using pet robots. Blake et al. [2] mention a successful schedule and call system for taking medication.

Innovative ideas that support human wellbeing and use outside the box approaches and new technologies are invited.

The track’s main relation with the DDR conference threads is research. There is an enormous need for innovative ideas to overcome, for example, the fast growing demand on support for healthcare and social support for the elderly. We therefore need modern research approaches.
One could think of participatory design or development research as an approach because of the social context we are exploring. But we also challenge those that have refreshing other new approaches to present their ideas to us.

Societies’ influence on the evolvement and the application of technology in the context of healthcare and wellbeing places us in DDR’s focus on `Human and Social Dynamics’. To fit societies’ needs we need people to join in the design process. Maybe the challenge is to let the participating society design / co-create solutions for their needs?

Types of contributions that were sought
For the track, we accepted long and short papers, as well as events such as short workshops with discussions that could lead to a joint paper.

We asked for contributions related to, but not limited to, the following issues:

How to:
– improve the quality of life through modern techniques?
– consider societies’ influences on the evolvement of technology?
– increase societies’ awareness of the need for creative / new solutions?
– motivate people to co-create and explore innovative ideas?
– overcome the gap between the designer/developer and the user?
– design an appropriate development process?
– use technology to support (health) care challenges?

1. Bernabei, V., et al. “Animalassisted interventions for elderly patients affected by dementia or
psychiatric disorders: A review.” Journal of psychiatric research(2013).
2. Blake, Sarah C., et al. “A qualitative evaluation of a health literacy intervention to improve
medication adherence for underserved pharmacy patients.” Journal of Health Care for the Poor and
Underserved 21.2 (2010): 559567.
3. Website ‘technology for health care’ (in Dutch, English version is in development):

12. Design-enriched Information Systems

The track explored the nature of the relationship between the study fields of Information Systems and the design disciplines. We invited submissions that address design-based perspectives in the broader IS domain, but also problematise and situate IS-perspectives in the design fields.

Design-enriched IS (and similarly IS-enriched design) is an emerging, transdisciplinary perspective and has not found its theoretical rooting within the social and applied sciences. It may yet offer important practical and scholarly contributions by applying new insights and knowledge to the benefit of organisations and society.

This track  reflected on a series of actionable strategies for design-enriched IS, which may build towards a ‘unique disciplinary subject matter’. This may align with the DDR thread of ‘dilemma’, in which the relationship between design and IS is both problematised and conceptualised. This track is independent of a specific focus area, but because of its transdisciplinary nature, design-enriched IS can manifest across diverse fields of study.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions that were sought
– the nature of the relationship between IS and design disciplines, in theory and practice
– pluri- and transdisciplinary approaches in design-enriched IS
– research agendas for design-enriched IS
– new perspectives of design-enriched IS in practice, e.g. ICT4D, smart sustainability, eTourism, and eLearning (relevant to the DDR focus areas)

13. ICT4D (Information Technology and empowerment)

This track focused on the role of Information Technologies in empowerment. As the field of ICT4D matures, the question of the role of technology in the social human development seems to have been candidly answered. Technology can indeed have a positive impact. However, the on-going empirical evidence indicates that there is still lack of clarity on whether information technology produces long-term and persistent change in people, especially those at the bottom of the pyramid. The long-term effects would arise from the targeted populations being actually empowered to explore and harness the various opportunities in life. The central question of the track therefore is how can information technology be used to empower the marginalised communities?

This track aimed at exploring this concept farther. In particular we were interested in theoretical and empirical work dealing with the empowerment, evaluating the impact of information technology, and enablers and barriers to empowerment.

14. Nanosatellite applications towards sustainable socio-economic development

A stated vision of the African Union is the socio-economic development and positioning of Africa in the global economy, through the development and use of science and technology. In this broad context, the African Space Policy is being drafted to synergise the various developing and developed space activities on the continent.

Nanosatellites provide cost-effective technology platforms and were initially developed primarily for human capacity development. Advances in enabling technologies, infrastructure, acceptance by the international community and increased access to space, have seen remarkable innovation in the field of nanosatellites to provide niche applications and services to society.

The vigorous growth of the nanosatellite industry , with increased participation by the global community, also comes with the responsibility of the sustainable use of outer space. Not only will future missions serve sustainable development on Earth, the notion of sustainability also applies to the implementation and operation of these missions.

Exemplar topics and types of contributions that were sought

– Economic value proposition and business opportunities of nanosatellites towards sustainable, socio-economic development
– Technology and applications, relating to resource management, disaster monitoring, space weather, in-situ monitoring, communications, etc.
– Education and awareness in STEM using nanosatellites
– Design for the sustainable use of space
– Community engagement from a user and contributor perspective.

15. Business Design

Creating a significant competitive advantage for an organisation is one of the most neglected strategic initiatives of many companies. For this reason the use of Service Design is an important tool to build and strengthen the relationship between business and client. For businesses to be able to utilise the Service Design approach, businesses need to understand how service design can benefit the business.

Service Design is an integrated approach to make business processes more useful and usable in order to for businesses to be more efficient and effective. The holistic, multi-disciplinary, integrated field of Service Design combines management, marketing, research and design to design and build exceptional business processes and client services. Service Design is not only for designing individual services for businesses but to integrate what the business is offering to enhance the client’s experience. To gain the benefits that Service Design offers the business, special expertise is needed to integrate the knowledge and experience from all disciplines of the business.

Any contributions addressing service design in a business context were welcome.