Design Tool Selection

Following the development of the design brief and specification of the design criteria, the design tool selection matrix from the CWA-DT was used to select the most appropriate tools and activities to be used in the workshop. The tools selected were as follows:

  • Sociotechnical values cards to introduce sociotechnical systems theory values and promote value-aligned thinking
  • Personas to communicate findings of the research and promote empathy for different system users
  • The impossible challenge exercise to promote thinking outside of usual constraints (e.g. time, budget)
  • Scenarios to communicate the findings of the research and provide an understanding of context
  • Assumption crushing to promote lateral thinking and prompt design ideas
  • Metaphorical design to promote lateral thinking and prompt design ideas
  • Inspiration cards to prompt design ideas

Idea Generation Workshop

Eighteen participants attended a 2-day idea generation workshop. As can be seen in Figure 6.4, participants were representatives of rail level crossing stakeholder organisations (e.g. government departments, safety regulators, road user advocacy bodies, transport investigators) and those with a professional interest in the research (e.g. human factors professionals, researchers, designers). Although we did not have any attendees from the Government/Parliament level of the system, we expected that relevant perspectives for this level would be represented by the policy makers who attended from government departments.

During the workshop, design participants engaged in a range of exercises, using the tools selected by the research team during the design planning stage (see Section 6.3.5). Participants usually worked in small groups of four to five individuals.

Before beginning the structured exercises, participants undertook general brainstorming as an initial activity. This provided an opportunity for participants to express ideas that they may have already generated outside of the design process that were not influenced by the CWA findings or the sociotechnical systems theory philosophy. Participants were asked ‘What are your ideas for improving rail level crossing safety?’ They were asked to brainstorm and record their ideas individually on paper. They were then asked to share their ideas with the wider group. Although not expressed to participants, an intention of this warm-up activity was for participants to express any long-held beliefs around how to improve rail level crossing safety, so that they would be able to think about new ways to tackle the problem during the remainder of the workshop.

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