6.9: Simonsen, J. and M. Hertzum (2010): "Iterative Particpatory Design", in Simonsen, J., J.O Bærenholdt, M. Büscher, and J.D. Scheuer (Eds.) Design Research: Synergies from Interdisciplinary Perspectives, Routledge, pp. 16-32.


The theoretical background in this chapter is information systems development in an organizational context. This includes theories from participatory design, human-computer interaction, and ethnographically inspired studies of work practices.

The concept of design is defined as an experimental iterative process of mutual learning by designers and domain experts (users), who aim to change the users’ work practices through the introduction of information systems.

We provide an illustrative case example with an ethnographic study of clinicians experimenting with a new electronic patient record system, focussing on emergent and opportunity-based change enabled by appropriating the system into real work.

The contribution to a general core of design research is a reconstruction of the iterative prototyping approach into a general model for sustained participatory design.