How to involve users in development and innovation processes?

Updated: May 25, 2020

#userinvolvement #DSSILab #FREEkey #DisabilityStudiesDW

We introduced the essential topic of user involvment, and now we provide some aspects on how to operate inclusive processes effectively.

1. Listen to their stories and ideas: in our experience, nondisabled professionals don’t have to take part in so called sensitization programs to understand the needs of persons with disabilities better. They only have to listen to them carefully. Life stories are powerful tools in learning about the effects of the lack of support and also, to meet the best solutions that are often already have been created by the user themselves.

2. Take your time and don’t rush the process: working together on new ideas and innovative processes needs time and space. If you try to rush the process, you will probably fail, because the proper framework is missing to let projects grow in an organic way.

3. Share responsibilities and empower people: it is crucial to believe, that everyone is able and capable to be an equal member of the process, even you sometimes think, you could better manage the whole process on your own. Disabled people and members of other vulnerable groups often learned that their experience is less worthy than professional knowledge. It is probably the harderst task to re-shape this misconception.

4. Ask for critical feedback: after an inclusive team is set up and starts to grow, it is essential to always ask each other for honest and critical feedback. Sometimes such a reflection may send the group back to the starting line, but this strategy is the only way to meet the needs effectively, that you wanted to address in the first place.

If you are interested in our methods and projects, follow us on Disability/Studies/and Social/Innovation Lab.

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