Designing participation : Reconsidering agile ridesharing with evolutionary distributed design thinking

For classes of problems and opportunities that manifest themselves at the level of community, one of the major challenges is to design and grow participation by the community itself.

This paper explores design thinking from the perspective of designing new forms of interaction to engage people in community change initiatives. A case study of an agile ridesharing system is presented. We describe the fundamental premise of the design approach taken—deploying simple interactive prototypes for use by communities in order to test the design hypothesis, evolve the design in use and grow the community of participants. Real-time use data and feedback from participants influences our understanding of the design approach and feeds into the gradual evolution of the prototype while it continues to be used. We then reflect upon this form of evolutionary distributed design thinking. In contrast to the conventional IT wisdom of building systems to automate ride matching and fare calculation using structured forms, our initial phase of design revealed a preference for informal messaging, negotiation and caution in the sharing of specific location information.

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Author: Margot Brereton
Author: Sunil Ghelawat
Department: Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia

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