Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design

Front Cover

Generative design research is an approach to bring the people we serve through design directly into the design process in order to ensure that we can meet their needs and dreams for the future. The book introduces an emerging domain of design that is of immense interest today not only to the academic design research community but also to those in the business community charged with the development of human-centred products, systems, services, and environments. There are no other books with this focus and coverage currently available.

About the author (2012)

Liz Sanders: Liz Sanders is the founder of MakeTools, a company that explores new spaces in the emerging design landscapes. She is a visionary in pre-design research, having introduced many of the tools, techniques and methods being used today to drive and/or inspire design from a human-centered perspective. Liz has practiced co-designing across all the design disciplines. Her current focus is on bringing participatory, human-centered design thinking and co-creation practices to the challenges we face for the future. Liz speaks about and offers learning experiences in human-centered design research and innovation for clients, colleagues and students around the world. She has a Ph.D. in Experimental and Quantitative Psychology and a B.A. in both Psychology and in Anthropology.


Founder, MakeTools (January 2005 to present)
MakeTools uses generative tools to explore collective creativity.
President, SonicRim (1999 to 2005)
SonicRim is a consulting firm that offers design research services to companies who want to stay in
tune with and respond to the emerging needs of their customers.
Vice President, Fitch Inc. (1982 to 1999)
Fitch Inc. is an interdisciplinary design consulting firm serving clients in many industries.


The Ohio State University (OSU) (1992 to present)
* Senior Lecturer, Department of Industrial, Interior, and Visual Communication Design
* Adjunct Faculty Member, Industrial and Systems Engineering
* Advise many Masters and Ph.D. students from OSU (and other universities)
* Regularly teach these required courses:
- Industrial Design 555: Design Research for undergraduate students
- Industrial Design 786: Design Research for graduate students

Carnegie Mellon University (CMU)
Member of the Board of Advisors for the School of Design since 1999

University of Dundee, Scotland

Honorary Professorship in the School of Design, Faculty of Duncan of Jordanstone College

* Associate Editor for CoDesign: Collaboration in Design
* Have conducted workshops and made presentations to students and faculty in many different universities including:
- Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA (visit there once a year)
- Stanford University in Stanford, CA
- University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland
- Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
- Institute of Design, Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago, IL
- University of Washington in Seattle, WA
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY
- University of Calgary in Calgary, Alberta
- North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC
- Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah, Georgia
- Universidad de las Americas in Peubla, Mexico
- University of Dundee, Scotland
* Have a working relationship with researchers at:
- Delft University of Technology, Delft, The Netherlands
- The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong
- University of Art and Design in Helsinki, Finland
- University of Dundee in Dundee, Scotland
* Review committee for CHI (Computer Human Interaction) Conferences
* Review committee for HFES (Human Factors and Ergonomics) Conferences
* Review committee for the Conference on Designing Pleasurable Products and Interfaces, 2003
* Scientific committee member for Wonderground, the 2006 Design Research Society International Conference in Lisbon 2006
* Review committee for The Emotional Wardrobe International Conference in Bristol, UK 2006

* The World Future Society
* The Human Factors and Ergonomics Society (HFES)
* The Industrial Designers Society of America (IDSA)
* The Design Management Institute (DMI)
* The Product Development and Management Association (PDMA)
* Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society
* The International Dyslexia Association
* The Design and Emotion Society
* The Center for Ethnography and Documentary Research (Board Member)

Bibliographic information