Design research is nurtured from practices that cross-cut traditional fields of design and research. Researchers take on the role of designers and vice versa. This fosters mutual inspiration and learning synergy. Design processes work through iterative and contextual experimental forms of research, and researchers work, know and communicate through designing.
Design research involves many kinds of other synergies integral to those between research and design: between analysis and design, between different disciplines and design in different domains, between humans and non-humans, between intention and emergence, between small and large worlds, between lived practice and theoretical abstraction, between training and scientific enquiry, between reflection-in-action and problem-based learning and between very different persons. In this concluding chapter we examine some central synergies that arise from the chapters in this book. Truly, researching, writing, editing and ‘designing’ this book has been a process of learning and co-operation. Besides drafting, reading, discussing, and editing each others’ written contributions, our methods have included exchanging ideas, exploring and inventing new perspectives at workshops, and discussions amongst smaller groupings of authors and editors, including an editorial affinity diagram workshop (Beyer and Holtzblatt 1998) between Simonsen, Bærenholdt and Scheuer aimed at capturing underlying structures and patterns of design research present in our discussions. The latter used a grounded theory approach (Glaser and Strauss 1967), and it inspires the text below.