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Andrew Drain

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2019
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Creative Capacity Building: Enhancing Participatory Design with Rural Cambodian Farmers

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

The use of participatory approaches, for designing technology with communities in developing countries, have become popular with engineering practitioners in the Western world. However, practitioners struggle to facilitate true collaboration with communities, due to a lack of understanding of design and problem solving, as well as a lack of confidence and motivation to contribute towards a long-term project. Mr Drain aimed to resolve these challenges through the implementation of creative capacity building, at the beginning of a long-term project, that focused on improving an individual's ability to problem solve. To investigate this, three case studies were undertaken in rural Cambodia. These studies designed technology that enabled people with disabilities to have better access to farming livelihoods. Results showed that creative capacity building positively affected the community's ability to contribute contextual insights to the project as well as their understanding of the design process and motivation to contribute.

Professor Nigel Grigg
Dr Aruna Shekar


Drain, A., Shekar, A., & Grigg, N. (2018a). Insights, Solutions and Empowerment: A Framework for Evaluating Participatory Design. CoDesign. doi:10.1080/15710882.2018.1540641

Drain, A., Shekar, A., & Grigg, N. (2018b). Participatory design with People with Disability in Rural Cambodia: The Creativity Challenge. The Design Journal. doi:10.1080/14606925.2018.1488923

Drain, A., & McCreery, M. (2018). Participatory Design Handbook: Inclusive Agriculture Cambodia 2018. School of Engineering & Advanced Technology. Massey University. Retrieved from researchgate.net/publication/326357229_Participatory_Design_Handbook_Inclusive_Agriculture_Cambodia_2018

Drain, A., McCreery, M., Shekar, A., & Grigg, N. (2018). The collaborative design of a low-cost, accessible rice seeder for rural Cambodia: Trade-offs and challenges. Paper presented at the IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference 2018, San Jose, California, USA.

Drain, A., Shekar, A., & Grigg, N. (2017). ‘Involve me and I’ll understand’: creative capacity building for participatory design with rural Cambodian farmers. CoDesign, 1-18. doi:10.1080/15710882.2017.1399147

Drain, A., & Jones, I. (2017). Human-Centered-Design: An Insight into South-East Asian Rural Markets. Paper presented at the National Conference for Innovation in Manufacturing and Design, ANZ Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland, New Zealand.

Drain, A., Shekar, A., & Jones, I. (2017). Co-creation in developing contexts: Inclusive design with marginalized farmers. Paper presented at the International Social Innovation Research Conference Melbourne, Australia.

Shekar, A. & Drain, A. (2016). Community Engineering: Raising awareness, skills and knowledge to contribute towards sustainable development. International Journal of Mechanical Engineering Education.

Drain, A, Shekar, A & Goodyer, J. (2016). Building Capability to Teach Humanitarian Engineering: A Reflection. Paper presented at the Australasian Association of Engineering Education Conference 2016.

Drain, A (2016). The importance of product design in humanitarian development. Presented at Link Festival 2016, Melbourne.

Shekar, A, Goodyer, J & Drain, A. (2015). Introduction to Needs Analysis for increasing first year engineering students’ ability in conceptual design. Paper presented at the Australasian Association of Engineering Education Conference 2015.