We want to be ethical in everything we do. Through design research, we’re seeking to understand what really matters to people and their deepest motivations – what triggers certain thinking patterns and behaviours.
Sadly, there are examples of this type of information being used to manipulate people to do things that aren’t in their best interests. We have a responsibility to collect, store, and use our design research in ethical ways.
I recommend IDEO’s The Little Book of Design Research Ethics as a simple and very practical guide. It also include tools and examples from their work in the field. “Three timeless principles guide all our work: respect, honesty, and responsibility. While the concepts are well known, they’re abstractions that resist concrete definition, and applying them to the ambiguities, complexities, and messy scenarios of real life is no simple task”.