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Design and Research: a love story


GOOD’11 was all about what can happen when design and research come together – but what about when this means people, and not just disciplines? Lekshmy Parameswaran and László Herczegh are co-founders of fuelfor, a design consultancy specialised in healthcare innovation. They are a Designer Researcher and Researcher Designer respectively; the challenges and joys of bringing these disciplines together lie at the core of their daily professional practice – and they have both the smiles and the scars to prove it…

At GOOD’11 they be provided a personal and professional account of combining these distinct viewpoints, whilst looking at the fundamental principles that underpin different disciplines and backgrounds working together: What does it mean to be a Designer Researcher and Researcher Designer? What are the innate strengths and weaknesses of each discipline? How can they complement each other to enrich the innovation process? Does learning how to innovate really mean learning how to collaborate?

Health care innovation involves tackling complex problems, and multi-disciplinary collaboration thus becomes an essential tool. With over two decades of experience between them working in the healthcare field, fuelfor have found that when design facilitates research (and vice versa) the results for innovation can be far greater than the sum of these parts. Drawing on selected healthcare product and service innovation case studies fuelfor illustrated a set of key working principles they believe can lead to a successful ‘marriage’ of design and research for innovation.