Made-up Rubbish: Design Fiction as a Tool for Participatory Internet of Things Research

Naomi Jacobs*, Milan Markovic, Caitlin Cottrill, Pete Edwards, David Corsar, Karen Salt

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


As Internet of Things (IoT) technologies become embedded in public infrastructure, it is important that we consider how they may introduce new challenges in areas such as privacy and governance. Public technology implementations can be more democratically developed by facilitating citizen participation during the design process, but this can be challenging. This work demonstrates a novel method for participatory research considering the privacy implications of IoT deployments in public spaces, through the use of worldbuilding design fictions. Using three fictional contexts and their associated tangible design fiction objects, we report on findings to inform transparency and governance in public space IoT deployments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)419-440
Number of pages22
JournalThe Design Journal
Issue number3
Early online date30 Mar 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was funded through the TrustLens project, supported by the award made by the RCUK Digital Economy programme to the University of Aberdeen; award reference: EP/N028074/1. We would like to thank the community of Tillydrone for giving their time to this project.


  • Design fiction; internet of things; transparency; governance
  • internet of things
  • transparency
  • design fiction
  • governance


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