Co-Creation 

 A general reflection on its terminology and background.

 How it could benefit both stockholders and designers?

 What are the tools which are used by designers to achieve an optimum outcome?

 How to deal with unexpected results?

Many approaches have been used to involve the public/ community as part of the design process and in multidisciplinary aspects. In fact, this direction is not only limited to spatial design (e.g. urban, architectural, graphics, and landscaping, etc..), but also many business models adopted this process of engaging the stakeholders, and consumers as part of reforming the outcome product in order to maximize profit and ensure quality with respect to its cost, and reduces waste and energy which categorize “co-designing” as a sustainable process. Co-creation has also its short term and long term benefits which reflect positively on both the stakeholders, as well as it provides the designers or practitioners a big deal of data in which it gives high credibility and an uncriticized argument. 

The term co-creating/ co-design is a well-established approach to creative practices, particularly within the public sector. And it has its roots in the participatory design techniques developed in Scandinavian countries since the 1970s. This design venture made to actively involve all stakeholders (e.g. employees, partners, customers, citizens, end-users) in the design process to help ensure that the result meets their needs and ensure its functionality. The co-design approach enables a wide range of people to make a creative contribution in formulating solutions for problems. The participatory design also prioritizes the processes and procedures of design but not the design style. It is also used as a design tool for creating environments that are more responsive and appropriate to their inhabitants’ and users’ cultural, emotional, spiritual and practical needs.

Nevertheless, co-creation have both a short term & long term benefits. The first benefit is the generation of better ideas with a high degree of originality and user value Improved knowledge of customer or user needs Immediate validation of higher quality ideas or concepts. Second, it provides better-differentiated products or services. Third, it creates more efficient decision making Lower development costs and reduced development time and fourthly provides better cooperation between different people or organizations, and across disciplines. While the longer-term benefits include a Higher degrees of-satisfaction-of and loyalty from, customers and users Increased levels of support and enthusiasm for innovation and change, and better relationships between the product or service provider and their customers (Developer, Designers).

Furthermore, the participatory design has been used in many settings and at various scales in design disciplines. For some practitioners, this approach has a political dimension of user empowerment and democratization, and for others, it is seen as a way of abrogating design responsibility and innovation by designers.

In addition, working within a co-design environment and experiencing people’s needs and imagination have led designers to create more innovative concepts and ideas rather than they do when creating ideas on their own. Usually, the design is what people need, want, feel, dream, that is the essence of a good design. And the designers are commissioned to design a space based on their ability to read the best spacial experience and spatial organization which they would provide, as a result, designers use data driven by stakeholders to add value to their to design and create a kind of reference or a benchmark for their design elaboration. And this is only achieved by providing design as software and not as hardware.

On the other hand, designers should have experimented design notions and doctrines, and the designers have practiced many design exercises which make them more credible for finalizing the design from their personal point of view. The data-driven from the community is a good design tool to achieve an optimum outcome, yet what makes the design good is the designer, and his ability to create understand cultures and society, designers are commissioned to design because of their artistic talent combined with the rational thinking. The creative approach is mainly derived by the smartness of the designer who could accomplish a smart design based on quality, price “ sustainable, cheap, recyclable”, efficiency, and by offering spaces of accidents where the community in the future will come up with solutions or functions to such designs. 

In fact, the best design outcome is via the usage of the testing method that is using “lighter-quicker-cheaper” prototypes to be tested in real-time. which also co-creation also creates social interaction, and generates a democratic environment hence it is educational as much as it serves the community and brings people together which will provide high credibility to the design outcome. However, sometimes designers face bad times dealing with stakeholders, this reflects on the design outcome, since sometimes not all people come into agreement, in which the division is vertical in feedbacks which show a contradictory feedbacks. Moreover, feedbacks would lake sometimes to any sensibility or awareness from the stakeholders, which also reflects negatively on the designer’s motivation in design.

As a personal reflection, it is always about designers to go back and check what they have designed, probably co-creation is not a phase in design but it is the continuing process, where as much as people are using the space as much as designers should interfere with their designs ignorer to check up on what has designed and test it and maybe correct some bearable design faults. And the good relationship which the designer built with the community will be translated into a rational understanding of the spacial elaboration. Hence, Designers should do their homework before approaching the community, but in the end, it not what the community who decide whether the design is good or not, but the designer who decides. 

In the end, Co-creation has great benefits on the societies, and the series of lectures on co-creation have shown various aspects and examples on how could co-creation generate the best if not to say an optimum satisfaction to both sides. And designers are using this method to give more credibility to their designs besides their sensitive side which would be generated throughout the interaction with the stakeholders, and with experiencing peoples feeling and dreams it creates a new perspective in the design discipline. 

Thank you! 

 MO.Kabbara 

Posted by:mokabbara