Welcome to the USING USER RESEARCH Workshop
Creativity and Cognition 2009 (CC09) embraces the broad theme of Everyday Creativity. This year the conference will be held at the Berkeley Art Museum (California, USA) from October 27 - 30 2009. CC09 asks: How do we enable everyone to enjoy their creative potential? How can we incubate innovation? How do we enrich the creative experience? What encourages participation in everyday creativity?

Meanwhile, across the design disciplines, and from academia to industry, user research has becoming an increasingly important activity when developing any product, system or service. Whilst our understanding of the methods and techniques available for generating user research is maturing, understanding how to use that user research in the design process is less well developed:

  • Use: How do we enable user research to be effectively leveraged in the design process? How can we make sure that user research is both insightful and actionable? Can we do user research to both define requirements as well as spark ideation? What is the best way to communicate user research (and to whom)? Is co-design the better alternative to ensure update & use of research insights?
  • Role: Does user research within the design process itself incubate or quash creativity and innovation? Does user research work best in service to design or as design strategy (or neither)? What role does meta-analysis (or 360) play in user research and design strategy? What role does user research play in bridging disciplines beyond design in the development process? 
  • Methods: Is user research something best gathered from users or generated with users? Is user research best accomplished with designers, for designers, or by designers?
  • Do different communities (e.g. academia and industry) define ‘valid user research’ in the same ways?
  • Scope: Is "the user" the limit? how about people? business? stakeholders? experience? ...biosphere? - What's next? And is creativity itself a domain that is readily accessible to 'user' research? 

Using User Research is a full day workshop at CC09 which aims to answer these questions, and no doubt generate others, through gathering and exploring case studies of user research in use, mapping best practice and lessons learned, and stimulating a community of practitioners keen to work together in the future to extend this initial exploratory work and address the challenge of improving the use of user research. 

Workshop Objectives
Using User Research is intended to open up debate on a topic that gets little attention in the literature on user research; how to use user research effectively. The workshop will address three challenges:

  • Document and disseminate case studies of user research being used within design projects.
  • Identify key common elements of good and bad practice from these case studies.
  • Generate an ongoing community attending to the issues around how user research is best used within the design of tools (systems, services, products) to support creativity.

We hope to begin to map out some of the qualities of effective user research in use, and understand how the design of products, systems and services for creativity in everyday contexts can better commission and exploit user research.