When Human-Centered Design Meets Social Innovation: The Idea of Meaning Making Revisited

Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 9180)


Facing the challenges of sustainability, while design is seeking to play an important role in social innovation, human-centered design (HCD)—one of the most important philosophies of design—somehow appears to be fading out of the major research agenda. Based on a review of the limitations of HCD, this paper looks into the capability of the theoretical underpinning of HCD to support its potential development in social innovation from two aspects: (1) the connection between human-centeredness and the social dimension; (2) emancipating HCD from the asserted limitation of its role in innovation. The phenomenological perspective is used to support and broaden the worldview of HCD. Built upon this, the idea of meaning making is revisited to account for both questions. In addition, a preliminary framework of meaning making is proposed as a HCD tool that aims to facilitate the complex interaction in social innovation. It is argued that design as meaning making with a combined interest in exploring human experience will open up new opportunities for HCD.


Meaning Human-centered design Social innovation Phenomenological perspective Hermeneutic spiral 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Design and InnovationTongji UniversityShanghaiChina

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