As organizations embrace design-led innovation, they can struggle to reap the full value of human-centered design. A design team’s interactions with customers may often be limited to only the early research and late evaluation phases of the design process, while the work in between – when ideas are being generated – is left to the internal team alone. When this is the case, we miss the opportunity to discover some of the most valuable and customer-centered solutions. Cue participatory design. Participatory design is an approach to design strategy that brings customers into the heart of the design process. Also known as “co-creation”, “co-design”, or “cooperative design,” it encompasses techniques useful to both initial discovery and subsequent ideation phases of a project, where the end-users of a product, service, or experience take an active role in co-designing solutions for themselves. Understanding how someone would solve a challenge they face directly often surfaces new insights about their experiences. This new information better informs how designers focus their efforts, and the ideas users propose serve as actionable inspiration for the solutions created. Whether designing for customers, employees, service providers, or other audiences, when we move past the challenge of designing for them and begin designing with them, we find the outcomes are more innovative and customer-centered.
All that said – the global coronavirus pandemic has raised new challenges for participatory design. Can we truly achieve the same ends via remote, virtual methods? What aspects of participatory design are most successful in-person, and what can be achieved remotely? The stay-at-home period of 2020 has forced us to innovate methods that not only work during a global pandemic but may also be useful when seeking collaboration from audiences that are distributed geographically, limited by disability or access, and other constraints.
In this workshop, we'll cover:
- What is Participatory Design?
- How can you use participatory design methods in your practice?
- What does it look like?
- How do you choose the right methods to achieve your goals (and accommodate remote/virtual constraints)?
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