Guided by a human-centered design focus on users’ needs, Computer-Supported Collaborative Work (CSCW) research and practice have increasingly explored how to address the multiple inequities affecting historically marginalized groups. A growing body of CSCW and Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) research, building upon education and community development literature, argues that centering on needs dismisses marginalized users’ capacity for driving change. Needs-based views often lead to designs for the “here and now,” further marginalizing populations and perpetuating stereotypes. In contrast, an assets-based approach that puts users’ knowledge, strengths, and capacities—assets—at the core of design can better promote sustained impact. Translating assets into meaningful designs that interact with intersecting systems of oppression, however, raises critical questions: What are assets? Whose assets are privileged? What ethical considerations surface when facilitating assets-based reflections? How can an assets-based design tackle systems-level problems? In this workshop, we will bring together researchers and industry actors to explore the implications of assets-based perspectives across domains, including Education, Information and Communication Technologies and Development (ICTD), and Participatory Design (PD). Specifically, we will work to develop guidelines and methodologies for CSCW researchers and designers to identify when and how to pursue an assets-based approach, navigating issues of power to translate assets into design effectively.
Recommended citation: Wong-Villacres, M., Gautam, A., Roldan, W., Pei, L., Dickinson, J., Ismail, A., … & Roden, E. (2020). From Needs to Strengths: Operationalizing an Assets-Based Design of Technology. In Conference Companion Publication of the 2020 on Computer Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (pp. 527-535).