WEEK 6: What is the Value of Co-creation?
This week, Liz Sanders, professor at Ohio State and founder of MakeTools, came to speak with us about participatory design and engage with some materials. Our group has often found ourselves ahead of what is happening in class. We’d actually come into this session with some pretty okay ideas about how we might design some generative research methods. But Liz was able to help us see how to frame those activities for our audiences and meet them where they are.
I’ve also found myself doing some very quick generative research for a one-week project for another class, where we were prototyping ideas for Uber once its cars are autonomous. The interesting thing about that class is that I’m so used to designing with designers and here I get a glimpse of what it might look like to design among engineers. For this project, we were required to do some user testing, so I suggested that we do something a little more generative.
Some of the engineers I was working with it were so solution-oriented that it took a bit of time to get them on board with the activity. They wanted to go off into the corner and create solutions to show to the users. I realized that I might have to learn a better way to frame generative research to engineers and other stakeholders. Co-design isn’t just about absorbing the designs people create and then executing on that. It’s about listening and interpreting and determining the user needs behind the creation. That’s pretty simple, but I hadn’t quite articulated it that way before.
This course has been really useful to me in understanding different viewpoints. My classmates are definitely allies to design and design thinking. That’s why they’re here at grad school. But there are still many ways in which our thinking is fundamentally different. If I want my work to be effective, I’ll have to learn how to speak to engineers and businesspeople and communicate my ideas, my insights, and my suggestions to diverse groups. That’s what this class is a step toward. It’s not quite what I imagined this class to be, but still, it’s invaluable.