Course context

Over the last few years, the Digital World Research Centre (DWRC) has been working with community groups to develop a new methodology for engaging people in the design of new digital products and services. The methodology involves the re-design of product concepts in a simple extension to the focus group format. Essentially participants are challenged to re-design concepts they have just discussed, by thinking about what they would like to keep, lose or change about them. This results in a creative rather than a critical discussion and generates new versions of the concept more suited to the values and interests of the group.

The course will begin with an opportunity to share previous experiences of focus groups and/or design activities within the attendee group. The Focusgroup+ method will then be introduced with examples from a variety of re-design workshops. After lunch, participants will work in smaller groups to discuss and then re-design a new product concept. Groups will share their new designs with each other prior to a general discussion of the method itself.



Who will benefit from this course?

The course will be useful to market researchers, designers and social science researchers attempting to engage a wide range of research participants in creative design discussions. The method provides an accessible way in which to introduce and frame group design activity and gain a new level of insight into customer values and needs.

Aims and objectives

To introduce a new participatory design methodology for the re-design of product or service concepts presented in focus group settings.

Learning outcomes

Plan an extended focus group to evolve initial product concepts

Gain experience in re-design discussions

Understand approaches to the analysis and documentation of re-design discussions


“A good way to learn about about the co-design process.”

Arabella McNeil, Health & Safety Executive

11 November 2016


The Old Trading House, 15 Northburgh Street,London,EC1V 0JR

David Frohlich is Director of Digital World Research Centre at the University of Surrey and Professor of Interaction Design. He joined the Centre in January 2005 to establish a new research agenda on user-centred innovation in digital media technology. Current work includes a mixture of PhD and Research Council projects exploring a variety of new media futures relating to digital storytelling, personal media collections, and community news and arts. Prior to joining Digital World, David worked for 14 years as a senior research scientist at HP Labs, conducting user studies to identify requirements and test new concepts for mobile, domestic and photographic products. David has a PhD in psychology from the University of Sheffield and post-doctoral training in Conversation Analysis from the University of York. He has also held visiting positions at the Royal College of Art, Universities of York, Manchester Sydney (UTS) and Melbourne, and is founding editor of the international journal Personal and Ubiquitous Computing.

Additional Information

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