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Bec Purser - Are you consulting, collaborating, or co-designing? And why it matters.

Bec Purser - Are you consulting, collaborating, or co-designing? And why it matters.

Co-creation, co-design, collaboration, or participatory design are terms you see a lot at the moment. This talk aims to unpack these terms by revisiting their origins and discussing the ethical and political implications of conflating them. The session will also provide clear and easily implementable strategies on when to use which method.



March 17, 2022

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  1. Are you consulting, collaborating, or co-designing? And why it matters.

    Bec Purser Senior Manager Service Design Transport for NSW
  2. Part one What & why Part two From where Part

    three How & when WHAT TO EXPECT
  3. By conflating terms and purposes we diminish the value of

    all these concepts. WHAT & WHY Image: Post-it notes as part of an analysis process
  4. A design approach that involved including end users of the

    design outcome as active co-designers (Martin & Hanington, 2012). “Co-design is an approach to designing with, not for, people. It involves sharing power, prioritising relationships and using participatory means and building capacity.” (McKercher, 2020). CO-DESIGN PARTICIPATORY DESIGN CO-CREATION COOPERATIVE DESIGN OPEN DESIGN
  5. “We co-designed the solution with our internal stakeholders.” “Our internal

    co-design workshops had great results.” THAT IS NOT CO-DESIGN “We presented the concepts to participants in our co-design sessions.”
  6. “We COLLABORATED to design the solution with our internal stakeholders.”

    “Our internal COLLABORATION workshops had great results.” THAT IS NOT CO-DESIGN “We presented the concepts to participants in our CONSULTATION sessions.”
  7. None of those represent bad design or design processes, but

    they are not co-design. By conflating these concepts and terms we diminish the value of them all. Consultation is an important part of design and democracy. Collaboration is a radical act and should be celebrated.
  8. DESIGN RESEARCH IS ALSO NOT CO-DESIGN Making exactly what the

    end-user or participant says - This isn’t even design or research. Asking an end-user or participant to describe their ultimate X - That's a research question and should be analysed accordingly. Image: Homer Simpson Designed Car (George, 2014)

  10. Consultation is keeping informed and finding use/key issues. Collaboration is

    sharing the process with other professionals. Co-Design is sharing the process with those who will be most impacted. Consultation, Collaboration and Co-Design are all valuable.
  11. There are many claimed origins from Plato, to Russia to

    Germany but, the most widely accepted origin in a design context is Scandinavian in the 1970s and 1980s. FROM WHERE Image: Computer from the 1970s Utopia Project (Sundblad, 2010)
  12. Kristen Nygaard is the father of worker involvement in workplace

    for computer development and use. 01 PROJECT UTOPIA Image: Photo of Kristen Nygaard (Sundblad, 2010)
  13. Consultation and the sharing of information was crucial during and

    after the project. Collaboration with Xerox PARC, Stanford University, and others on the forefront of Human-Certred Design. Co-Design was achieved through trust and also need – the industry was changing dramatically. Driven by ideology, Project Utopia lead the way for Co-Design within a work context.
  14. The largest manufacturing company in Denmark, producing industrial products such

    as flow meters, temperature sensors, and other equipment. 02 DANFOSS Image: Danfoss cooling system in a workshop (Danfoss, 2022)
  15. Myth 1: Researchers must be impartial. Myth 2: Designers cannot

    be let near test subjects, or they will influence the results. Myth 3: End-users do not have the skill or impartiality to be part of the act of design. Driven by efficiency and a drive for commercial advantage, Danfoss continued the work focus.
  16. The world leaders for co-design in placemaking - designing and

    managing public spaces with the people who use them daily. 03 PROJECT FOR PUBLIC SPACES Image: Photo of the Perth Cultural Centre (Kent, 2016)
  17. Consultation still a key part. Not every community member can

    or wants to be committed. Collaboration needed as there are not just experts but multiple landowners often. Co-Design is built over time, must be careful about only including ‘squeaky wheels’. Away from ‘experts’ and work, Project for Public Spaces lead the way for Co-Design within the everyday.
  18. Co-design is a particularly suitable methodology when designing for (not

    with) complex systems. WHEN & HOW Image: Photo of toy trains being used in a design workshop
  19. Designing for (not with) complex systems. You can be humble,

    not impartial. Long-term relationships can be cultivated and valued. 01 02 03 Co-design is particularly suitable when:
  20. Designing for (not with) complex systems COMPLEXITY OF USE COMPLEXITY

  21. Designing for (not with) complex systems COMPLEXITY OF USE COMPLEXITY

  22. Be humble, but not impartial. Co-design is not a set

    of tools, it is an approach to share the power of the design process with those most impacted. This is a process which is not for every organisation or everyone. 02
  23. The onboarding process is long and difficult. Particularly, when the

    best co-design participants are those with unique lived experiences. Co-design works best when you can build the engagement over time and multiple projects. 03 The value of long-term relationships
  24. Recruiting - Lived experience and commitment. Onboarding and Facilitating –

    Be a great host. Start small and then keep it going. 01 02 03 Some how of Co-Design:
  25. This isn’t new for Design Research. We often get pushed

    to demonstrate how our sample is representative even when that is an impossibility with qualitative research. This is a harder process though, due to the level of commitment Co-Design engagements may require. Have the mindset of employing co-workers rather than recruiting participants. Lived experience over demographic representation.
  26. Onboarding and Facilitating Be a great host. Think event planning,

    experience design and wedding planning all rolled into one. You are responsible for people’s engagement, safety, fun and output.
  27. Find a design problem, maybe a product type which could

    be suitable to Co-Design. Consider participants who you have already engaged – would any of them be suitable to join the design process for this problem? Design the engagement in a way which leaves the door open to further engagements and builds relationships. Start small and keep it going.
  28. Where to look for more information? Beyond Sticky Notes: Doing

    Co-design for Real book by KA McKercher. maketools.com by Liz Sanders. Anything by Jacob Buur. Image: Photo of a person holding up the Beyond Sticky Notes book (McKercher, 2022)
  29. Do you have any questions? Bec Purser bec.purser@gmail.com Transport for

    NSW Thank you.
  30. Danfoss. (2022). CO₂ Chillers [Image]. Retrieved 1 March 2022, from

    https://www.danfoss.com/en-us/service-and-support/case-stories/dcs/co-chillers-give-pro-refrigeration-a -future-proof-solution/. George, A. (2014). Fox Homer Simpson Car [Image]. Retrieved 1 March 2022, from https://www.wired.com/2014/07/homer-simpson-car/. Kent, E. (2016). Perth's Cultural Centre [Image]. Retrieved 20 February 2022, from https://www.pps.org/article/australia-placemaking. Martin, B., & Hanington, B. (2012). Universal methods of design. Rockport Publishers. McKercher, K. (2022). Person holding book [Image]. Retrieved 29 February 2022, from https://www.beyondstickynotes.com/tellmemore. McKercher, K. (2021). Beyond Sticky Notes. PublishDrive. Sundblad, Y. (2010). UTOPIA: Participatory Design from Scandinavia to the World. History of Nordic Computing. References