Project values identification



Designers and Stakeholders

Design phase:







In this teaching activity, students will learn to identify the main project values at the end of a stakeholder research phase in the design process. Based on an analysis of empirical data, students can argue for the chosen project values, and through this argumentation relate back to the use situations that they have observed.


Becoming aware of the underlying project values at the beginning of a project – even before the idea sketching phase begins – is just as important as identifying the problem situation or design opening that students are designing for.

Upon entering the second half of the first diamond in the Double Diamond design process model (Design Council, 2021), students review their user research data through for example an affinity diagram (IDF, 2021) and identify four underlying project values. In this analysis phase, most experienced designers might have a gut feeling what the underlying project values are. However, this teaching activity makes it very explicit by enabling a design team to anchor what they identify as the four main project values in their empirical research.

The four project values should be regarded as provisional, and can serve as material for discussion throughout the design project. For example in a dialogue with stakeholders, where the student group later can introduce stakeholders to the project values, and negotiate the project values through an iterative process. Furthermore, the project values might serve as triggers for a discussion with stakeholders how to deal with value tensions, and how to concretely manifest the project values in a product, system or service.


After the teaching activity students will be able to:

  • analyse empirical data and identify what the four main underlying values are in the project,
  • argue why they chose these four project values, based on findings in empirical data,
  • relate to the different stakeholder use situations that they have observed in their user research phase.


  • The students should have an ongoing design project in which they have already identified stakeholders, and are able to contact these stakeholders.
  • The students should be done with the user/stakeholder research phase of their project, and they should have analysed the related data and gathered enough insights to formulate the problem or the design opening.

    In addition to this, the students should have performed at least some of the prerequisite teaching activities listed (see Related teaching activities).

  • Distribute the project values worksheet and walk through the below process of the activity with the students.


The teaching activity is divided into three steps.

Step 1:

  • Upon reviewing the results of, for example, an affinity map and/or a questionnaire and a description of a problem or a design opening, the students should identify all the values that they think are the underlying values in their design project.

Step 2:

  • The students use the worksheet to filter out four of the values that they identify as the main project values.
  • Based on, for example an affinity diagram, the design team evaluates what are the most central values. The values should be selected according to what important stakeholders and the design team consider the highest priority and according to if/how these values might be integrated with other stakeholders’ values.

Step 3:

  • The students fill in the circle diagram in the worksheet. They should begin at the center, where they fill in the values and work their way outwards. In the middle circle, they fill in the arguments for why each value word is relevant, and in the outer circle, they fill in the example situation where the value word is relevant. This could for example be a description of a situation that they have observed in their user/stakeholder research.
  • When students have filled in the worksheet, they can send it to the stakeholder(s) and ask them if they think that these four project values are the most important, and if they think that the design prototype should focus on those values.
  • After this activity, the students might go one step further, and negotiate the project values with the stakeholders. They might contact the most important stakeholders and bring the project values up for discussion as a set of provisional project values.


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 asking them to create a value-based video pitch (summative assessment) focusing on presenting their worksheet to stakeholders along with their analysis of empirical data, argument for its four project values and relations to use situations. They should end the pitch by posing some questions that bring project values up for discussion with stakeholders.

Assess students' learning by asking them to create a timeline of the values within the design process (ipsative assessment) focusing on how values evolve through the interactions with stakeholders containing 1) values evolving from empirical data, 2) values change evolving from working with values identification through the worksheet, 3) values change evolving from presenting and discussing the worksheet with stakeholders, and 4) the values found in the final design prototype.


In the assessment activity ask students to focus on:

  • analysing empirical data to identify main underlying values in the project with stakeholders,
  • arguing for the chosen project values based on use situations and interaction with stakeholders,
  • presenting the development of project values to stakeholders in a convincing and clear format that opens up for further discussion and interaction with stakeholders.


Design council (2021). The double diamond design model. Retrieved on 2021-04-15 from

Interaction design Foundation (IDF) (2021). Affinity Diagrams – Learn How to Cluster and Bundle Ideas and Facts. Retrieved on 2021-04-15 from