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Designing for people with Dementia

Creating Sustainable Innovation



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Behaviour change through mindful design

One of Kristina's strongest interests is the exploration of design as a means for mediating mindful social interaction. This means going beyond facilitating interactions which are common to interactive objects and technologies such as email, mobile phones, etc. where the immediate interaction between the caller and the receiver is designed. Instead, mindful design seeks to create awareness and responsibility of all social interactions implicated in the exchange as well as opportunities and new ways of looking at interaction. As such, mindful design is part of the movement of design for behaviour change.

Designing for people with dementia: designing for mindful self-empowerment and social engagement

Kristina currently leads the European RISE project Designing for people with dementia: designing for mindful self-empowerment and social engagement (2016-2020). This project aims to help people with dementia engage in social contexts to improve psychosocial wellbeing. Utilising the concept of mindful design, the project investigates innovative design solutions to enable self-empowerment and confidence building of people living with dementia. The two focus areas are: a) personal difficulties with social interaction and b) environmental influences on social engagement. The outcomes and benefits of the project will include: the development of new uses of design for helping people with dementia to engage socially and improve subjective well-being; the presentation of a robust methodological co-design framework for the development and evaluation of the designs in dementia care settings; the development of a holistic mindful model of designing and of a model for mindful care for social engagement for people with dementia; policy recommendations for the inclusion of design within dementia care. The project brings together 13 partners from healthcare and policy, design and ICT from 6 countries, including the UK, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Australia.

Creating sustainable innovation through design for behaviour change

In 2014, Kristina was Principal Investigator for the AHRC development grant 'Creating Sustainable Innovation through Design for Behaviour Change' (2014), which brought together a team from leading design departments in the UK and the Netherlands, including Warwick University, Loughborough University, the Royal College of Art, Lancaster University, TU Twente and TU Delft. The project investigated how academic research into behaviour change can be utilised best by SME's in order to help bridge the gap between academia and industry.

Designing mindful interaction through performative objects

The starting point for Kristina's on-going research into mindful design was the identification of a new category of products, termed performative objects (Niedderer 2007), which was the outcome and contribution of her doctoral research in 2004. Performative objects were identified as design objects that are designed to facilitate mindful awareness of the physical and symbolic social actions and their consequences within which they are used.

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Developing a framework for mindful design

Following on from her work on performative objects, Kristina is currently developing a broader framework for mindful design. Mindful design seeks to enable behaviour change through attitude change based on mindful awareness and reflection. Mindful design, comprises all objects that intentionally seek to engender mindful awareness. This can be mindful awareness of human-object interaction, most commonly occurring in safety devices; or of social interaction as found in performative objects. Kristina's latest work, which is published in the The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness, has introduced the element of positive emotion regulation into mindful design to make attitude change that based on conscious mindful reflection desirable.

Relevant Publications

Niedderer, K. (2014). Mediating Mindful Social Interactions through Design. In A. Ie, C. T. Ngnoumen and E. Langer (eds.) The Wiley Blackwell Handbook of Mindfulness, vol 1. Chichester, UK: Wiley, pp. 345-366. link

Niedderer, K. (2013). Mindful Design as a Driver for Social Behaviour Change. In Consilience and Innovation in Design - Proceedings of the 5th International IASDR Conference 2013. Tokyo, Japan, 26-30 August 2013. pdf

Niedderer, K. (2007). Designing Mindful Interaction: The Category of the Performative Object. Design Issues, 23 (1), pp. 3-17. pdf

Niedderer, K. (2005). Exploring the Expressive Potential of Function, in L. Jönsson, (ed.) Craft in Dialogue: Six Views on a Practice in Change. Gothenburg, Sweden: IASPIS, 45-56. ISBN 91-975609-0-1

Niedderer, K. (2004). Designing the Performative Object: a study in designing mindful interaction through artefacts, in Redmond, J., D. Durling, and A. de Bono (eds.) FutureGround Proceedings of the Design Research Society International Conference 2004, Volume 2 (CD). Melbourne, Australia: Monash University, 2004. ISBN: 0-9756060-5-0

Niedderer, K. (2004). Designing the Performative Object: a study in designing mindful interaction through artefacts. Plymouth University (Falmouth College of Art), 2004. (PhD-thesis)

Niedderer, K. (2003). The Performative Object: Enacting the Humane Dimension within Design, in Electronic Proceedings of the 5th International Conference of the European Academy of Design. Barcelona, Spain: European Academy of Design.


© Copyright 2007-2016 Kristina Niedderer