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4. Observe

Ethnographic observations, ‘people watching’, delivers user information that informs the DAC process and is often undertaken by the whole research team linked to generating (as close as possible to) first hand understandings of user and abuser issues. Also the whole context of the criminal design problem – the system to be addressed by design. Later within DACRC’s iterative design process the designers also undertake their own additional observations. The project managers start to pare down the most relevant sources of information to be used linked to staged meetings and discussions with stakeholders and dutyholders. To deliver observation effectively we often visualise our research. To allow the multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches of our teams to synthesise around clear themes we literally draw out and discuss our findings – a show and tell focused on the issues under discussion. For example, we will visualise perpetrator techniques, our observations from ‘people watching’, we visualise user and provider accounts; and other forms of information linked to crime mapping etc. It is also at this stage where we start to involve stakeholders and experts in the review of the design and crime issues and receive their feedback on our research. The individual designers too may also introduce new forms of visualisation into the account. The project managers are responsible for paring down the most relevant sources of visual information to be considered and refined. The whole process is iterative. For example, even at the stage of visualisation, we iterate many times to get images right, and to get thinking right in response to stakeholder input. This makes it possible for individual team members to contribute, and helps us orchestrate what Charlie Leadbeater has described as ‘we think’ approach.