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May 14, 2021

Decolonizing Design Research in IDSA's 'Innovation' Magazine

Jemma Frost, Senior Design Researcher at Bresslergroup, is a contributor to the Spring 2021 issue of Innovation, the quarterly of the Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA). The Spring 2021 issue, guest-edited by Raja Schaar, assistant professor and Program Director of the Drexel University Product Design program, invited design practitioners to write about the internal strategies they implement to decolonize industrial design.

In “‘Recruit A Mix,’ They Said,” Frost writes about the important role design researchers can play in decolonizing design. Researchers are in a unique position to help clients change the way they think. By baking strategies into their process as a matter of course, they can help clients begin to understand that everyone benefits when you design to decolonize.

Frost provides the three guidelines employed by Bresslergroup’s research team on every project, and writes about the strategies used to implement them. The guidelines are:

1. We strive to bring diverse voices to the decision table.
2. We foster awareness around potentially traumatic data collection.
3. We deliver what the client needs to hear, not what they want to hear. 

“We must be intentionally anti-racist, from kickoff to delivery. …,” Frost writes. “Our role as human-centered researchers and designers is to advocate for this future in every decision-making task we take part in. At Bresslergroup, our research team is made up of anthropologists, designers, and cognitive scientists who have studied how to most effectively reduce bias in our research. We’re committed to continuing to learn new strategies to do so. In the wide range of Design Research that we practice — from global contextual inquiry to quantitative surveys — we work to mitigate bias in all that we do.”

As of Summer 2021, the Spring 2021 issue of Innovation is now public for all to view. The article has been republished on our blog as How Design Researchers can Help Decolonize Design.

About Innovation Magazine

Since 1982, Innovation has been the voice of the industrial design profession, providing in-depth coverage of industrial design issues and communicating the value of design to business and society at large. Every issue of Innovation is distributed to IDSA’s membership, Fortune 500 companies, universities, associations, design consultancies, and subscribers around the world. 

Read about Bresslergroup’s Design & User Research expertise




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