Participatory Innovation Conference (Jan 2012, Melbourne)

Dates: 12-14 Jan 2012
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Deadline for abstracts: UPDATED 15 Aug 2011

Swinburne University Faculty of Design in collaboration with SPIRE, University of Southern Denmark is proud to host the 2012 Participatory Innovation Conference. This is a forum where participants from different disciplines and organisations can meet and challenge each other to develop the field of participatory innovation. It will be held in Melbourne, Australia from 12-14 January 2012.

What is Participatory Innovation?

Participatory Innovation combines theories and methods across academic fields that describe how people outside an organisation can contribute to its innovation. Join this conference to help identify ways for industry, the public sector, and communities to expand innovation through the participation of users, employees, suppliers, citizens, members, etc. – on a strategic level, in concrete methods, and in day-to-day interactions. Industry, public agencies, and communities increasingly adopt people-driven and open innovation, as they realise that innovation cannot come solely from within an organisation. Innovation happens in the ‘breaking of the waves’ between people outside and people inside – because they have different stakes and perspectives. In academia, new breakthrough contributions to understanding and supporting innovation also emerge in the borderlands between disciplines that traditionally do not collaborate (ex. between indigenous knowledge and design, or between management and anthropology).

Call for Extended Abstracts

We are currently seeking extended abstracts (approximately 750-500 words, not including bibliography) for double-blind peer review addressing one of the five conference tracks:

  • Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Innovation,
  • Evolving Design Anthropology,
  • Making Design and Analysing Interaction,
  • Organising Participatory Innovation, and
  • Designing Innovative Business Models.

Each of the tracks supports a unique combination of disciplines and offers an engaging way to participate. Practitioners are encouraged to submit cases that researchers can react to at the conference. More information on tracks can be found on the conference website,

Deadlines (Australian time)

  • Abstracts and intents to participate: August 5th
  • Notice of Acceptance: September 5th
  • Full papers: October 14th
  • Final submissions: November 18th

For questions please contact conference co-chairs:
Elizabeth (Dori) Tunstall, Swinburne Faculty of Design (; and
Jacob Buur, SPIRE, Mads Clausen Institute, University of Southern Denmark (

Brief Conference Track Descriptions

Indigenous Knowledge and Cultural Innovation

How can indigenous communities use their high level of cultural wellness to design futures that reduce their social and economic vulnerability? How can indigenous ways of knowing reframe the understanding of participation? This track brings into dialogue participants from indigenous communities, futuring, and design to explore the processes of cultural innovation.

Track chairs:
Associate Professor Pi’ikea Clark, Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi
Associate Professor, Bo Zhou, Chinese Central Academy for Fine Arts

Evolving Design Anthropology

Design and Anthropology often engage at the level of designing for human cognitive and emotional needs and desires. But what about the spiritual, which completes holistic human existence? This track seeks participants who are interested in grappling with how design anthropology can evolve to also address the underlying values systems of organisations and the translation of those values into tangible experiences for negotiation among multiple stakeholders.

Track chairs:
Associate Dean Elizabeth Tunstall, Faculty of Design, Swinburne

UniversiMaking Design and Analysing Interaction

Physical ‘stuff’ like generative toolkits, tinkering and prototypes has proven highly valuable in encouraging people with different backgrounds to collaborate. But why and how does it work? This track brings together ‘makers’ of design collaboration with interaction analysts, who can explain what actually happens.

Track chairs:
Senior Research Fellow Carolyn Barnes, Faculty of Design, Swinburne University
Associate Professor Trine Heinemann, SPIRE, University of Southern Denmark

Organising Participatory Innovation

Involving users and other stakeholders in innovation poses serious challenges to management. Organisations hesitate to admit external voices into internal conversations. This track brings together practitioners and researchers to develop a deeper understanding of ‘organising’ participatory processes that lead to novel solutions. A particular challenge is participation in public-private partnerships.

Track chairs:
Dean and Distinguished Professor, Ken Friedman, Faculty of Design, Swinburne University
Professor Henry Larsen, SPIRE, University of Southern Denmark

Designing Innovative Business Model

There are already several examples in academia of widening the circle of participants when discussing how to innovate business models. In this track practitioners, designers and business experts come together to create new ways of innovating business models with user participation – by moving business model discussions beyond marketing into the realm of interaction design!

Track chairs:
Professor Eddie Blass, Faculty of Business & Enterprise, Swinburne University
Professor Jacob Buur. SPIRE, University of Southern Denmark

About Swinburne Faculty of Design and SPIRE

Swinburne University Faculty of Design has more than a century of history. It focuses on the value adding benefits of design and design research to people, the environment, industry and the economy.

SPIRE is the newest research centre at the Mads Clausen Institute. It is concerned with research in participatory innovation in collaboration with social scientists, human scientists, local industry and the theatre group Dacapo.

About Fil Salustri
I'm a design methodologist and Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada. Adjectives that describe me include: secular humanist, meritocrat, and long-winded. Some people call me a positivist too, as if that were a bad thing. Go figure. My real home page is

One Response to Participatory Innovation Conference (Jan 2012, Melbourne)

  1. Pingback: PINC (Participatory Innovation Conference) Melbourne 2012 | Oversimulated's Blog

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