The Little Book of Design Research Ethics
Welcome to another Little Book. This one is about ethical practices in design research. It covers the principles that guide our interactions as we search for insight. It’s written for everyone at IDEO and for all the people we work with—those we learn from, and those we teach.
These principles aren’t new to IDEO. Trust and collaboration are essential to our work; so respect, responsibility, and honesty have always been core to our culture. Empathy and cultural sensitivity are routine practice—we’re human-centered designers after all!
What is new is the concise format you now hold in your hands. Constructing this book has been a major undertaking, with lots of soul-searching to strike a helpful balance between guidance, rules, and tools.
Across multiple locations, organizations, and disciplines, many more than 100 IDEO colleagues have given input to this book. We’ve distilled lessons learned—as you’ll see, sometimes the hard way—from more than a quarter-century of experience and dozens of stories from the field. We’ve integrated advice and recommendations from external sources too—from ethicists and from existing codes of ethics in related professions, such as journalism and market research.