Design team’s value statements manifesto



Designers and Stakeholders

Design Phase:







This teaching activity enables students to explain how their values constitute a certain attitude, approach to and agenda for the design process and product. Through constructing value statements and relating them to each other, they form a shared team manifesto, the group is able to act on their values and interpret them as design positions and orientations. After the teaching activity, students have, as a group or team, transformed values into an actionable design position in the form of a shared Design team’s value statements manifesto that integrates the design team’s value-oriented attitude and ambition.


Even if students as a group have established their values, they often find it challenging to know how to turn them into actionable principles for the group or design team in a design process and project.

This activity helps students construct a shared value manifesto with design principles constituting the design team’s design position and orientation in the design process. Furthermore, it helps students combine and classify their manifesto-like design principles into a unified value statement manifesto for communicating their attitude and approach to design as a design team. This helps the group or design team negotiate with stakeholders and make decisions in the design process.

The group’s value statements are materialised on the Value statement workshop cards provided and in the Design team’s value statement manifesto, enabling discussion and reflection between students in the design team – as well as between teacher(s) and student teams – or student teams and stakeholders – about how their value-oriented attitude and approach is acted out in the design process with stakeholders, design contexts, etc.

If students are not able to formulate how they want to integrate or act on their values in the design process or project, they run the risk of creating design conflicts or paralysis within the team, the team’s design process and the final design product, system, or service. Here, the students need a shared design stance or argument in the form of a designers’ value statements manifesto to guide their work.

When students have formulated shared and actionable value statements, they are subsequently able to engage in reflective value-oriented design arguments that can guide their design work with stakeholders.

Generally, a Design team’s value statements manifesto is to be constructed before the group or design team begins communicating and negotiating with stakeholders, in order for the design team to give stakeholders a clear and solid impression of the design team’s design principles and approach.


After the teaching activity students will be able to:

  • explain how their values constitute value-oriented design principles,
  • construct shared value statements on the grounds of their group values and individual value statements,
  • relate individual value statements to each other to form a shared “Design team’s value statements manifesto” they can act on as a group,
  • act on their values and interpret them as design positions and orientations.


  • The students should have performed the prerequisite activity Design team’s value identification and hierarchy (or similar).
  • Arrange settings for group work.
  • Students carry out the activity in their groups or design teams – otherwise the teacher places students in groups.
  • The groups bring with them their completed Design team’s value identification and hierarchy (or similar overview of the groups shared values).
  • Print out the empty Design team’s value statement manifesto sheet (1 copy per group) and the empty Value statement workshop cards (10 copies per student).
  • Make sure there are pens in different colours available.
  • Print out examples of manifestos (search for “design manifesto” online or see the teaching activity “Manifestos on values and ethics”) to show as examples ahead of the teaching activity.


Step 1:

  • Give a short introduction on the importance of being conscious of your own (individual and team) value-oriented attitude and approach when designing products, systems or services. You can use the teaching activities Manifestos on values and ethics, or Mapping Value Landscapes for inspiration or to show students how different value-oriented design principles might impact the design process or project in different ways. Remind students to think beyond narrow utilitaristic or practical statements, when it comes to the human values and visions for values in design that are of importance to them.
  • Walk through the materials on the tables and the different steps of the workshop.

Step 2:

  • Tell students to go through their “Design team’s value identification and hierarchy” (or similar) and fill out individually 5-10 Value statement workshop cards that integrate one or more values from the “Design team’s value identification and hierarchy” into a value statement. Ask students to integrate values in their statements in such a way that they form sentences that they are able to act on as designers. Ask students to reflect on whether their value statements, when taken together, have captured most of the important aspects and values of the design team’s value hierarchy.

    In this part of the workshop the students should not talk to each other, but work individually, formulating their own value statements.

Step 3:

  • Ask students in each team to take turns reading aloud the individually formulated sentences on the workshop cards and then place them in the middle of the table. Tell the students that these value statements are now no longer individual statements but the group’s or design team’s potential value statements.

Step 4:

  • Ask students to look at the team’s pool of workshop cards and sort the sentences on the cards into four common themes or principles. Tell the students that it is perfectly fine to leave value statements behind that don't fit the group’s selected themes or principles or are deemed of lesser importance.

Step 5:

  • Ask students to use markers to highlight good and actionable sentences, phrases or statements on the workshop cards within each of the four themes and combine these into four shared value statements (one for each theme). The four value statements are formed as sentences on four empty workshop cards.

Step 6:

  • Ask students to prioritise the four shared value statements. Ask them to reflect on what sentences/card should come first when formulating and expressing the group’s value statement manifesto. Here, value statement 1 will influence and take precedence over value statement 2 and so forth. Ask them to write down and combine value statements 1-4 on the Design team’s value statement manifesto.

Step 7:

  • Ask the group to come up with a motto for the design team that will reflect the team’s spirit and overall value-oriented attitude, approach or ambition as a design team. Ask them to write their motto at the top of the Design team’s value statement manifesto.

Step 8:

  • As a class, ask each team to share their motto and “Design team’s value statement manifesto”. Ask each team to reflect on why and how they ended up with this particular manifesto.
  • As a class, reflect on the significance and challenges of creating a shared and actionable ‘“Design team’s value statement manifesto” and the implication for their attitude, approach and ambition as a design team.

Step 9:

  • Talk to students about how the exercise and the “Design team’s value statement manifesto” can be used to guide them as designers and take decisions in the design process as it moves forward.
  • Ask the groups to capture and share/upload their manifestos.


To assess whether the intended learning outcomes were attained by the teaching activity the following assessment activities can be carried out (in class or after class).


Assess students' learning by making them do peer feedback (authentic assessment) on each other’s value statements manifesto. Ask them to comment and pose questions in relation to how the value statements relate to each other and how they would interpret them as design positions and orientations.

Assess students' learning by asking them to write a series of short blog posts (ipsative assessment) during a design process 1) presenting their manifesto and how the statements relate to each other, 2) explaining how their manifesto constitutes a specific design position or orientation in their design work, 3) reflect on how their manifesto impacted their design process, and 4) how their manifesto is visible in their designed product, system or service.


In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:

  • describing how their value statements constitute specific design positions, principles or orientations,
  • relating individual value statements to each other and reflect on how they come together in a unified manifesto or design agenda,
  • explaining how the manifesto points towards certain design processes and products and how this positions them as designers with a certain values-led approach and attitude when working with stakeholders.