Thomas Binder

Author: Thomas Binder


Thomas Binder is an associate professor at The Danish Design School.

Thomas Binder's research is about understanding how design processes generate new knowledge, and how an emphasis on knowledge building and learning can connect the designer's classic design skills with more open design processes based on dialogue with users, for example in the fields of service design, strategic development and change processes.

Together with others, Thomas Binder has worked with so-called design laboratories, where designers and non-designers collaborate on ‘rehearsing the future' at the intersection between the known and the unknown.

Through workshops and other activities where designers and the stakeholders co-create future-oriented experiments, a learning zone is established in which the possible becomes within reach. For this learning zone Thomas Binder has developed methods and approaches for collaborative inquiries such as a documentary video that serves as design material, design games, and scenario and prototyping methods based on improvisation.

Design laboratories have been used in the project DAIM (Design-Anthropological Innovation Model), where citizens and waste management professionals have worked closely together to define new recycling systems and new roles for refuse collectors, building superintendents and others. Imagined future scenarios played out by the stakeholders were important means in redefining, for example, refuse collectors from being seen exclusively as ‘garbage disposal workers' to being seen as the industry's ‘street level representatives' with close relations to the citizens and responsibility for essential communication between the city administration and the citizens.
Thomas Binder teaches in the Ph.D. programme and in the general design programme within the fields of user-driven innovation, open design processes and design as a method.

Thomas Binder has an M.Sc. in engineering (1987) and a Ph.D. in Science & Technology Studies (1993) from the Technical University of Denmark.


Publication period start: 2004
Number of co-authors: 18


Number of publications with favourite co-authors
Tomas Sokoler
Nina Wetcke
Ina Wagner

Productive Colleagues

Most productive colleagues in number of publications
Giulio Jacucci
Ina Wagner
John Zimmerman


Binder, Thomas, Michelis, Giorgio De, Gervautz, Michael, Jacucci, Giulio, Matkovic, Kresimir, Psik, Thomas, Wagner, Ina (2004): Supporting configurability in a mixed-media environment for design students. In Personal and Ubiquitous Computing, 8 (5) pp. 310-325.

Sokoler, Tomas, Binder, Thomas, Nilsson, Jorn, Wetcke, Nina (2000): The Personal Bucket Organizer: Supporting Spatially Distributed Interaction on a Waste Wat. In: Proceedings of the First Nordic Conference on Human-Computer Interaction , 2000, .

Buur, Jacob, Binder, Thomas, Oritsland, Trond Are (2000): Reflecting on Design Practice: Exploring Video Documentary of Designers in Action. In: Proceedings of DIS00: Designing Interactive Systems: Processes, Practices, Methods, & Techniques , 2000, . pp. 450-451.

Binder, Thomas, Messeter, Jorn (2003): Space and Virtuality Studio: A Participatory Design Lab. In: Proceedings of IFIP INTERACT03: Human-Computer Interaction , 2003, Zurich, Switzerland. pp. 1063.

Binder, Thomas, Gregory, Judith, Wagner, Ina (eds.) Proceedings of the Participatory Design Conference 23-25 June, 2002, Malmö, Sweden.

Nilsson, Jorn, Sokoler, Tomas, Binder, Thomas, Wetcke, Nina (2000): Beyond the Control Room: Mobile Devices for Spatially Distributed Interaction on Industria. In: Thomas, Peter J., Gellersen, Hans-Werner (eds.) Handheld and Ubiquitous Computing - Second International Symposium - HUC 2000 September 25-27, 2000, Bristol, UK. pp. 30-45.