Innovation in Human Computer Interaction: What can we learn from Design Thinking?


Guest Editors


Alma Leora Culén, Department of Informatics, University of Oslo 

Asbjørn Følstad, SINTEF



Important dates


• Deadline: December 15, 2015 -> January 6, 2016 (extended)

• Notification to the authors: January 25, 2016

• Camera ready paper: February 10, 2016

• Publication of the special issue: end of February, 2016




In this focus section we explore the position that innovation has in the field of Human Computer Interaction (HCI). Innovation in HCI may be seen as mainly incremental, introducing small changes in existing systems and services. Design thinking, to the contrary, has been recognized as an important driver of innovation in business, education, health, and other important domains. As both HCI and design thinking are seen as representing user-centred perspectives, we are interested in lessons that could be learned from design thinking and whether they could help move the innovation in HCI to a more central position, and beyond just small changes.

Many similarities, and differences, can be found between design thinking and HCI design approach to innovation. Key to design thinking is the capacity to generate and explore design alternatives through user research, ideation, rapid iteration on multiple alternatives, combining parts from different design proposals, and evaluating with users. This problem-solving procedure may be applied to the design of anything from designing organizational changes, to designing products, services or systems. HCI design processes, on the other hand, typically involve analytical, requirements-driven approaches. HCI design processes may also be more limited in scope, e.g. as they rarely aim at bringing about organizational changes. HCI design processes have been described as ‘finding the right solution to the given problem’, as opposed to the design thinking that seeks to solve the right problem, by questioning the framing of the problem and opening the design space. We acknowledge that within HCI, and in particular within participatory design, there is a long tradition of work with issues along practical-political and theoretical-conceptual lines that correspond to those of design thinking. Thus, in conclusion, this special issue aims to explore these differences and similarities in relation to innovation. 


Topics of Interests


We welcome all papers discussing innovation in HCI, from diverse points of view and from diverse research areas. The papers can explore, but are not limited to, any of the following topics:


• HCI, design thinking and innovation towards sustainable future

• HCI and social innovation

• Design thinking, HCI and service innovation

• Design thinking, HCI and values

• HCI innovations transfer to products in use

• Design thinking in HCI education (or vice versa)

• The role of multidisciplinary teams in innovation

• Participatory design, design thinking and re-infrastructuring

• Innovation and decision-making processes

• Living labs and design thinking




Innovation; design thinking; radical innovation; incremental innovation; design driven innovation.


Submission procedure 


All submissions (abstracts and later final manuscripts) must be original and may not be under review by another publication.

The manuscripts should be submitted anonymized either in .doc or in .rtf format. 
All papers will be blindly peer-reviewed by at least two reviewers. Perspective participants are invited to submit a 8-14 pages paper (including authors' information, abstract, all tables, figures, references, etc.). 
The paper should be written according to the IxD&A authors' guidelines .

More information on the submission procedure and on the characteristics of the paper format can be found on the website of IxD&A Journal the where information on the copyright policy and responsibility of authors, publication ethics and malpractice are published.

For scientific advices and for any query please contact the guest-editor:

• almira [at] ifi [dot] uio [dot] no

• Asbjorn [dot] Folstad [at] sintef [dot] no


marking the subject as: 'IxD&A focus section on: Innovation in HCI''.