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Co-designing Design Fictions

a New Approach for Debating and Priming Future Healthcare Technologies and Services

Date Published: 01 May 2017



Design fictions (DFs) are emerging as a tool aimed at engaging people in debating and questioning the direction of future technologies, services and possible societies. Following the challenges placed on healthcare provision by an ageing population, governments are introducing policies related to ageing that will shape future healthcare services. The exploratory ProtoPolicy project, investigated how co-created DFs might be used to help older citizens imagine the future implications of policy initiatives through the lens of technology in an ageing society.


A co-design research approach was employed. In collaboration with older citizens (n=21, 65-94 years old) the project team co-created two DFs based on citizen responses to government policy, which explored the issues of assisted living/smart-homes and assisted dying/euthanasia in the UK. Feedback on the DFs was sought from citizens at a co-design workshop.


Five themes emerged from the thematic analysis of the workshop engagements with citizens: increasing the plausibility and acceptance of future healthcare technologies and services, raising ethical concerns and questions, conceptualising new healthcare producs and services, helping with understanding and decision-making, and service/technology requirements capture.


Understanding and engaging with more complex social healthcare technologies through a co-design design fiction approach might provide added value for citizens in priming new technology introduction in healthcare services. Co-designing design fictions can also provide researchers with more in-depth insights about the preferable futures articulated by different groups within the context of technology and healthcare services.


Design for HealthcareDesign FictionSpeculative DesignHealth Services ResearchResearch MethodsHealthcare Technology.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15187/adr.2017.


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