From your personal experience with the building of physical or virtual environments and the experiences given in Sanders (2008), is consultation and involvement of the learner something that genuinely contributes to the improvement of the finished design and implementation?

What measures of success are used to show involvement of students beyond simply “architectural marketing”, lip-service or self-improvement opportunities?

How might we better prepare communities for co-design and co-creation of digital or physical spaces in the future, when timelines and deadlines often run up against the time it takes to “do” co-creation well?

From research literature and the experiences given in Sanders (2008), I believe consultation and involvement of the learner genuinely contributes to the improvement of the finished design and implementation. However, on large scale designs of building environments has largely been a case of lip service, or no consultation at all, at least within my experience. Usually, consultation is from the ‘top down’ and stops at the leadership level or Heads of Year/Department level, and does not filter below that to include classroom teachers/librarians or students who will actually use the spaces. On a personal level, on a small scale, student involvement in the re-conception of the Central Library space has genuinely contributed to change. Often too, interestingly, the students’ ideas and reflections have corresponded with the librarian’s view. I have not engaged students to reflect upon the virtual environment as far as the design of curation tools such as the Primary Libguides, and yet, it makes sense to do so. I have encouraged students to let me know of resources to add, and yet I have not made it more interactive than that. It is something to certainly ponder.

Sanders states that:

Co-designing requires creative initiative on the part of the entire team: researchers, designers, clients and the people who will ultimately benefit from the co-designing experience (2008, 9).

Yet, as far as measure of success to show involvement of students beyond simply “architectural marketing”, lip service or self-improvement opportunities – this is more difficult to assess. What are the stages that will move an organization along to embrace creative initiatives and user involvement? As Sander and Stappers note, co-designing threatens the existing power structures by requiring that control be relinquished and given to potential end users or consumers (2008, 9). Hence, the scenario above, where very little control is given over to include all users or stake holders within a design brief or building of a physical environment. The authors note however, that change in attitude will occur as “the new generations are having an easier time in distributing and sharing the control and ownership” (2008, 9). I wonder if this idea can transfer to the remix culture and even in gaming where users become part of the design team as ‘expert of their experiences’ (Sleeswijk Visseret al. 2005 in Sander, 2008)?

So how might we better prepare communities for co-design and co-creation creation of digital or physical spaces in the future, when timelines and deadlines often run up against the time it takes to “do” co-creation well? Above all, leadership or organizations, as Sander’s states:

…need to learn how to offer relevant experiences to facilitate people’s expressions of creativity at all levels. This means leading, guiding, and providing scaffolds, as well as clean slates to encourage people at all levels of creativity. It is not always the case that we want to push people beyond their level of interest, passion and creativity. Different approaches to inviting and involving future users into the design development process will be needed for the different levels of creativity. As researchers we will need to learn how to:.

  • lead people who are on the ‘doing’ level of creativity,
  • guide those who are at the ‘adapting’ level,
  • provide scaffolds that support and serve peoples’ need for creative expression at the ‘making’ level, and.
  • offer a clean slate for those at the ‘creating’ level (2008, 14).

Imagine if students were education about co-creation and co-designing at an early age? To embrace the mind-set that all people are creative and can contribute. As Sanders questions, “with everyday people given access to the design process in co-creation, how much will design thinking diffuse into everybody’s curriculum for living, learning and working? What influence will that have on the world cultures? (2008, 16-17).  A thought provoking article worth returning to again.

Reference:

Sanders, E. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. CoDesign, (1), 5-18.http://primo.unilinc.edu.au/CSU:TN_tayfranc10.1080/15710880701875068

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