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Design Workbench

Design Research to Empower

Design Workbench is a podcast that demystifies designing for relevant, meaningful experiences, one concept at a time. In each episode, you’ll get a morsel you can apply to your work as a creator or leader to improve product and service experiences.

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Podcast Host

profile image of Dennis Cheatham

Dennis Cheatham is a design researcher and experience designer and teaches courses in Communication Design and Experience Design at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Before becoming a professor, he practiced design professionally for 15 years in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Read Dennis’s Bio


Design in the wild.

Who can be a designer?

When you read the word design, what comes to mind? Designer shoes with gold stitching? A blueprint for a building? Color and fabric swatches? Or perhaps you envision a wall of Post-it® notes for a design thinking session. Design and designers come in all shapes and sizes. Let’s meet a few of them.


a notebook with wireframes drawn on its pages

Design practitioners are problem solvers who partner with clients to define needs, craft solutions, and implement inventive and effective outcomes. Practitioners consider context as part of the problem, and the products, services, and systems they generate shape our cultures.


black woman interviewing a participant

Design researchers are pioneering new modes of healthcare, clarifying how people engage with technologies, inspecting the effects of an increasingly global community, and testing living spaces that adapt to changing human needs. Their inquiring nature, attention to detail, experience working with others, and inventive spirit make designers collaborative problem solvers whose research produces insightful discoveries.


group of asian and white college students working on computers in a classroom

Design educators synthesize research, practice, and pedagogy to facilitate learning experiences that shape the future of design. Students and educators work together to test emerging technologies, ideas, and ways of framing problems our societies haven’t yet named. In these spaces, dialogue is encouraged, and learners develop their craft and thinking as future leaders.


white older woman playing on an ipad with her granddaughter

Have you ever created something that was meant to be used—a papier-mâché mask, a tool for pulling up weeds, or a plan for distributing food to people in need after a disaster? Then, you are a designer. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

Of course, papier-mâché skills don’t qualify you to design skyscrapers or develop healthcare services—some training and experience are essential for those. But at the heart of every designer is a person who creates interventions whose goal is to make a better future. ❤️

Design Workbench Websites

Transdisciplinary teams are exploring ways design thinking and doing can improve peoples' experiences. Visit these sites to learn about projects on the Workbench.

Rewarding Risk

Learning beyond curriculum.

Living Values

Making advance care planning relevant and accessible.

Design Workbench Updates

Presenting at IASDR 2017
Published Nov 1, 2017 in Rewarding Risk
I am excited to present this research at the University of  Cincinnati, DAAP on November 3, 2017, at IASDR 2017. It's been a few years since the project was completed, but... read more ❯
What are the "Boundaries" of Palliative Care?
Published Oct 23, 2017 in Living Values
A report of our mapping exercise with other researchers from Scripps Gerontology Center to define the boundaries of Palliative Care and End of Life more ❯
A Workshop Where Participants are Experts
Published Nov 10, 2016 in Living Values
On November 17, we will hold our first design charrette to address Advance Care Planning with values being the driving factor. The event will be held at Mount Auburn Presbyterian... read more ❯