Participatory design for innovating on the right questions

Translating forces into forms, Alejandro Aravena shares three incredible case studies in design thinking. The forces include the voices of the users. The forms are the solutions that were collectively created by community and architect, working together through design.

Alejandro Aravena: I don’t know if you were able to read the subtitles, but you can tell from the body language that participatory design is not a hippie, romantic, let’s-all-drink-together-about- the-future-of-the-city kind of thing. It is actually — (Applause) It is actually not even with the families trying to find the right answer. It is mainly trying to identify with precision what is the right question. There is nothing worse than answering well the wrong question.

Identifying the right question — that is the value added of design thinking…”participatory design,” as Aravena calls it.

There are three great portraits of innovation in Alejandro Aravena’s “My architectural philosophy? Bring the community into the process.” And the lessons apply to so much more than just architecture? How are you bringing your community into your process?