I am answering as an Early Childhood Educator

*How did you at first get involved with designing for children/students? We needed to design a playground together for a childrens’ centre. I was the director of the centre. I wanted parents and children to be involved as well as the teachers.

*How do you involve children in a design process? By building trust with them first, active listening(really listening to what they are saying, asking them to illustrate what they want to see not your interpretation of it); brainstorming ideas (small groups in case they are shy in larger groups);  and making them feel they have something worthwhile to contribute no matter how ‘wild’ the idea may seem to the adults. They have brilliant ideas as they are the ones that use the spaces and therefore pick up on what they want in them. They need someone skilled at really hearing what they are actually saying.

*Before starting on a project, how do you plan the process? Carefully and without too many preconceived ideas. You would need a structure so they can see that you are serious about the project but be flexible to change this according to the majority of the group. Planning involves letting the audience know your objectives and what their role is. That needs to be clear to begin with. The   presentation of the project needs to be simple, clear and fun to listen to otherwise the creative ideas wont flow!!The “more hands on the better”!!

*When working with the users, how does it influence the process? Not sure what you mean??

*What is your optimal result when designing? Ensuring that everyone who wants to contribute has had a voice!!

*How do you plan the process to comply the aim? – The simpler the better

*Do you try to create a sense of ownership for the users? If Yes: How? If No: Why not? Absolutely yes. If you want people to feel ownership they need to be participant and to be valued for their contribution no matter how large or small. Consider the different ways that people learn as well as to how they will bring their ideas to the forum. Ownership comes from feeling part of it. Same as anything-how do know when you feel valued or a part of something??

*If you ever feel like you get stuck during a project, or in a process, where do you turn? (colleagues, inspiration from the internet, internet communities, friends, experts etc) All of the above but also take time to listen to your own intuition.

*If you have worked with children/students and/or teachers how did they take part in the process? Actively –once the project was explained they were very willing, time dependent on how much they could contribute. But as the project was going to be in their centre, then the parents really got involved and staff had their say.

“We have found that, just as Sir Ken Robins argues in his famous talks about the education paradigm, kids are being taught out of creativity.”

* So when you work with people who you feel have unlearned their imagination, how do you go about re-opening that side of them? Building trust is key to all of this. Re-igniting the creativity is not so hard if they trust you. Provide a range of mediums that they can explore it themselves. Also a key element in all of this is positive reinforcement and good communication with all concerned. Forming a partnership!!

*When working with projects that concerns a big part of the community, how do you get them involved? You need to make it ‘sizeable’ –in other words, break it into workable chunks. Provide interesting solid information and view it from the readers’ perspectives as to why they might want to become involved in the project. “What’s in it for me” is essentially what ‘grabs’ people in life. Think like an old man or a young child as to why they might want to read or view the information and then become involved.

*Please tell us about one (or more) methods of your personal favorites, when it comes to opening up the process and creating new ideas?

*Please tell us about a good experience while working in collaboration with users. I have had many.
*What does that mean to you? Essentially it’s what drives me. I love working with other people in a range of projects but all of them need to be seen and heard and feel they are part of something bigger. I think I have said this already.

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