Diversity in stakeholder groups in generative co-design for digital health: assembly procedure and preliminary assessment

Pieter Vandekerckhove*, Job Timmermans, Antoinette de Bont, Marleen de Mul

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

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    Diverse knowledge and ways of thinking are claimed to be important when involving stakeholders such as patients, care professionals, and care managers in a generative co-design (GCD) process. However, this claim is rather general and has not been operationalized; therefore, the influence of various stakeholders on the GCD process has not been empirically tested.


    In this study, we aimed to take the first step in assessing stakeholder diversity by formulating a procedure to assemble a group of diverse stakeholders and test its influence in a GCD process.


    To test the procedure and assess its influence on the GCD process, a case was selected involving a foundation that planned to develop a serious game to help people with cancer return to work. The procedure for assembling a stakeholder group involves snowball sampling and individual interviews, leading to the formation of 2 groups of stakeholders. Thirteen people were identified through snowball sampling, and they were briefly interviewed to assess their knowledge, inference experience, and communication skills. Two diverse stakeholder groups were formed, with one more potent than the other. The influence of both stakeholder groups on the GCD process was qualitatively assessed by comparing the knowledge output and related knowledge processing in 2 identical GCD workshops.


    Our hypothesis on diverse stakeholders was confirmed, although it also appeared that merely assessing the professional background of stakeholders was not sufficient to reach the full potential of the GCD process. The more potently diverse group had a stronger influence on knowledge output and knowledge processing, resulting in a more comprehensive problem definition and more precisely described solutions. In the less potently diverse group, none of the stakeholders had experience with abduction-2 inferencing, and this did not emerge in the GCD process, suggesting that at least one stakeholder should have previous abduction-2 experience.


    A procedure to assemble a stakeholder group with specific criteria to assess the diversity of knowledge, ways of thinking, and communication can improve the potential of the GCD process and the resulting digital health.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere38350
    Number of pages17
    JournalJMIR Human Factors
    Publication statusPublished - 2023


    • collaborative design
    • design methodology
    • digital health
    • participatory design
    • stakeholder involvement


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