Understanding the Everyday Designer in Organisations

Document Type

Conference Paper


Institute for Educational Development, East Africa


This paper builds upon the existing concept of an everyday designer as a non-expert designer who carries out design activities using available resources in a given environment. It does so by examining the design activities undertaken by non-expert, informal, designers in organisations who make use of the formal and informal technology already in use in organisations while designing to direct, influence, change or transform the practices of people in the organisation. These people represent a cohort of designers who are given little attention in the literature on information systems, despite their central role in the formation of practice and enactment of technology in organisations. The paper describes the experiences of 18 everyday designers in an academic setting using three concepts: everyday designer in an organisation, empathy through design and experiencing an awareness gap. These concepts were constructed through the analysis of in-depth interviews with the participants. The paper concludes with a call for tool support for everyday designers in organisations to enable them to better understand the audience for whom they are designing and the role technology plays in the organisation.


This work was published before the author joined Aga Khan University.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Tackling Society's Grand Challenges with Design Science: 11th International Conference, DESRIST 2016, St. John’s, NL, Canada, May 23-25, 2016, Proceedings 11