Participatory Design: Part 2 - Recruiting is Key

November 17, 2015

This is the second in a series of blog articles around Participatory Design. In the first article , I introduced the concept of Participatory Design (PD) and the Human-Centered Design (HCD) processes PD encompasses. In this article, we discuss the first step in a solid PD workflow: Recruiting.

Before you can incorporate a PD and HCD process, you must identify the stakeholders who will participate in your co-creation journey. A great way to do this is stakeholder mapping. A quick Google search will return many results on stakeholder mapping. One that I follow is generated by *Essentially, the mapping process is broken down into four phases including: Identifying, Analyzing, Mapping, and Prioritizing. The entire mapping process is geared towards identifying unknown or underrepresented stakeholders of your system. Although there never is a complete list of stakeholders, this mapping step can help you achieve a more thorough list.

Another great way to identify stakeholders is to look to your corporate personas. If you don’t have personas in place, you should. Read this blog post on Behavioral Persona Development and help identify users of your system. Armed with personas, you are better able to recruit the correct stakeholder groups to assist with your PD activities.

Once you’ve identified your stakeholders through mapping and personas, the next step is to design a recruiting matrix including your screening criteria. It is extremely important to take your time during this step, no rushing! You want a good mix of stakeholders and personas to participate in your planned activities, so by taking your time in creating the screening criteria, you are ensuring this mix. Your screening materials and matrix should be created to capture the various stakeholders you’ve identified. For example, if you have an affluent, highly-educated, middle-aged, gender-neutral persona, you must recruit accordingly by asking questions related to education and household income. Remember, a mix of stakeholders is essential.

Most participatory design workshops are recruited through a partner, one who has access to a vast database of individuals with a variety of recruiting matrices in place. First, you will determine the number of stakeholders from each identified group to recruit. I suggest at least one from each group, not to exceed 10-12 individuals. Second, design your screener with the proper questions in mind as discussed above. Then, hand-off this screener to your recruiter, ensuring there are no questions to the number and type of stakeholder you want recruited.

During recruiting, your partner will ask about compensation. Remember a PD workshop will usually be several rounds, and it’s best to keep engaged all players across all workshops. With this in mind, a PD session should run no longer than three hours. Armed with this knowledge, revisit your stakeholder map and make an assumption to the worth of their time. You’ll need to average this as it’s uncustomary to pay different stakeholders different compensation levels for the same PD session. A good standby is to figure $100/hour; however, I’ve seen PD sessions go as low as $30/hour with a long-term commitment of eight sessions. The longer you engage the participant stakeholder in the PD process, the lower your compensation rate can go. Work with your recruiting partner to come up with a good number- look to your partner for guidance to ensure a successful recruit.

Overall, it’s important to identify your stakeholders, design your recruiting screener and matrices accordingly, and find a recruiting partner you can count on to recruit a successful PD workshop.

In the next installment, we discuss the components of a PD session. What do I do when I get all these people in the same room?! Stay tuned.

If you have any questions, or want to talk Participatory Design, reach out to us



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