design research at the back end

So I was talking to my wife who is a therapist, she was telling me that the association she belongs to helps therapists get research grants to do clinical studies to show the benifits of therapy (long term cost, overall well being, comparative studies on types of therapy, and on and on). The information is then published in medical and psyciatric journals and presented at confrences so that their proffesional community can site it to basicly validate the proffession and get more work for themselves…

Is anyone out there doing this in ID? Showing how sales are effected after a total redesign, how people respond to newer/better designs vs. older less better products etc. ?

I have not run across companies or even individuals who are looking into this. However it is a very fascinating and intreging propossition, perhapse someone with more clout in the IDSA should suggest this to National.

Actually I just realized I know someone who has done research work for the IDSA. I will forward a link to this page to them.

Way to get the ball rolling, and way to be thinking outside the box there YO.

BTW, new nike store opens tonight in our new mall. 2000 sq ft, I will be thinking of you…as I watch my wife drain our checking account…

thanks dude… and I hear you, I get 50% off and sometimes I’m still sticker shocked. AJ XVIII’s are $175, and that’s suggested, they’re usually more.

As much as I hate doing “clinical” type research I think it could be good for us as a proffesion.

There is the Design Management Institute Design Management Institute
DMI traffics design where it intersects with business interests.

There is also the venerable International Design Conference at Aspen which is generally huge, annual and sometimes compelling and sometimes less so.

There is Doors of Perception
which is more interactive based but also very much linked to various government foundations etc that give grants to study the field.

There is also the PhD program at IIT, wherein most of its candidates research (sort of in the business school, case-study mode) the effects of design on various types of organizations. So there is some actual, academic inquiry going on in the field.

I have my private doubts about whether the IDSA can ever really be relevant outside of ID, apart from maybe its affiliation with the Business Week Design awards. But even then, those awards in the eyes of some, are simply self-serving groups of people who pat one-another on the back every year. I’m not quite so cynical, because of the recent proliferation of different groups with their own takes on the field. But from experience it is generally more interesting to attend a DMI, IDCA or Doors conference than an IDSA one.

Thanks for the leads Cordy:

I have up until recently been very un-interested in design research, but I’ve come to the conclusion that often times the difference between bad design and good design or even good design and great design) is the ability to keep people out of your way, or even better on your team. It seems like most designer’s main tool for this is being a total asswipe to the people they work with.

A possible practical application of design research could be the ability to convince people to help implement your vision (or at least keep out of the way). The IDSA is far from perfect, you might say I loath it, but it is the strongest organization of designers we have state side. If Innovation magazine was filled with these types of deep analysis case studies they’d have a magazine worth the cost of membership.

At this point the more academic the research, the more removed it seems to be from the designers down in the trenches designing stuff all year long. I’m going to bite in though and see if my taste buds have changed in the last five years.

Yo! I agree with you on how research and actual design don’t intersect alot. But there are people who are doing it. I hope to do it once i get out of school. I have some friends who definately incorporate it into what they do. Don’t know if the website will give the best info bet check it anyway.

Also had the oppurtunity to do some european commission funded projects a couple of years back when i was all engineer and they definately took a lot of these issues into account. Group had designers and ethnographers involved in the process. Along with corporate sponsors and engineers.

In fact i remember the interactive institute in sweden definately making sure their groups had a good mix of all types. Hmm maybe there’s a reason scandinavians are such good designers.

The only thing is with the economic downturn these kinds of groups are rare . Because people are less willing to take the chance. There’s less R&D money to form these groups. The company i was working for that did the projects ended up going bankrupt. But whatever the case I definately saw the impact good research can make.

are holding their national conference now.

Design case studies are available from:

Design Management Institute

Harvard Business Online

Corporate Design Foundation

(They also publish the excellent–and free–@Issue magazine, so be sure to sign up for it if you’re not already getting it.)

These have been invaluable to me in both making the case for design, and for best-practices re; corporate design organizations.

The “New Product Development” Business Fundamentals from Harvard is a particularly good resource. HBS # 9896

I wish there were more of these, but I think that searchable online resources like Core can help fill the gap.

I subscribed for years. I’m missing the last few issues. I’ve written them several times to verify my address, see what’s going on, and I do not hear back from them. I appreciate that it’s a free service and all that, but my subscription disappeared and now there’s like ZERO customer service. The courtesy of a reply is appreciated and all that…