Noura Howell on Cracks in the Success Narrative

21 Apr, 2022

Noura Howell on Cracks in the Success Narrative

Noura Howell, with Audrey Desjardins and Sarah Fox, explores what design researchers can learn from failure in her new research-article, "Cracks in the Success Narrative: Rethinking Failure in Design Research through a Retrospective Trioethnography". The article featured in Volume 28 of ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction.

From the abstract:

What can design researchers learn from our own and each other's failures? We explore “failure” expansively—turning away from tidy success narratives toward messy unfoldings and reflexive discomfort—through retrospective trioethnography. Our findings reflect on failures we identified in six past design research projects: issues of relational labor of deployment, mismatched designer/participant imaginaries, burden of participation, and invisibility of researcher labor. Our discussion contributes to broader reflections on shifting design research practice: (a) methodological considerations inviting others to engage failures through retrospective trioethnography, (b) letting go as a mode of research care, (c) possibilities for more candid research reporting, and (d) how centering failure may contribute to design justice by providing a technique for attending to harm and healing in design research practices. Throughout, we call for challenging success narratives in design research, and underscore the need for systemic changes in design research practice.

Read the article here!