Paper NO.75: The role of Design as a critical friend to the Voluntary Community Sector
The role of Design as a critical friend to the Voluntary Community Sector
Dr. Laura Warwick, Prof. Robert Young
This paper presents one of the key findings from a recent Doctoral inquiry into the relevance and applicability of adopting a Design for Service (DfS) approach to effect transformation in Voluntary Community Sector (VCS) contexts. The research used case study method, reflective practice and content analysis to establish that the use of design at a systemic level of a VCS organisation could incite transformational change. The paper reveals that the stakeholdersâ€™ initial trust in the designer is more important than their trust in the DfS approach (methods and processes), which becomes crucial to increasing the influence of design in the organisation. Once the designer becomes a â€˜friendâ€™ to the organisation, they can operate at an embedded level as a â€˜critical friendâ€™, which allows them to challenge the status quo and create new organisational perspectives. The paper finally presents a â€˜critical friendâ€™ model depicting how design can be used to effect transformation in such settings.