When I started hearing about co-creation in design, I mostly heard about co-creation sessions or workshops...which got me really excited.
It was an idea that I had already researched and used in museum education, working with the local community to understand how we could create experiences that benefited both the community and museum.
But co-creation is not a one-size-fits-all method. It won't work in every situation.
Co-creation is a way of thinking, a process, and a system tailored to the needs of the specific project at hand.
What is Co-creation?
Co-creation is not just workshops.
Although workshops are critical to the approach, co-creation is a whole mindset shift. Collaborating with users and working with them from ideation to development is a new way that teams can approach the design process.
When to use co-creation?
Designers can use co-creation at any time in the design process (surprise: you're already doing it). Here are four opportunities for co-creation:
Research - interviews, ethnographic research, personas, and web analytics (it's standard for UX designers to interact with users in this stage)
Ideation - sharing your initial idea with users during brainstorming, problem framing, and synthesis
Creation - prototyping solution ideas through creative, knowledge-sharing, and constructive activities
Handover - sharing the solution with users, user feedback, and usability testing
How to facilitate co-creation
Because co-creation is a process that involves meaning-making, negotiation, and consensus from small groups, it's crucial to have strong facilitation skills.
A good facilitator is neutral. They are not there to make decisions for the group. They help the group members to make decisions for themselves. You, as a designer, need to guide participants from planning to implementation.
Upcoming Live Courses
A workshop is a powerful tool in co-creation, particularly in the ideation and creation stages. It’s all about getting the creative juices flowing. You need to create a safe environment for participants (this is where your facilitation skill really can shine). Workshops are fun and exciting but also super impactful.
Co-creation workshops are a time for you to be creative with the activities. So go outside your comfort zone. Try something you have never done before.
If you’re looking for inspiration, check out these toolboxes
Until next time, get creative with your users!
Educator & Co-Founder
The Fountain Institute
P.S. We just announced the dates for more courses in 2022:
- Product Discovery Process: April 19-20, 2022 (enrollment open)
- Facilitating Workshops: May 2-23, 2022 (enrollment open)
- Defining UX Strategy: July 4-25, 2022
- Continuous UX Research: September 5-26, 2022
- Designing Product Experiments: October 3-24, 2022
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