Co-Design Spaces. The Future of Collaborative Creative Problem Solving?

What is Co-design?

Co-design also known as participatory design, is a design-led process that uses stakeholders from all areas to create something new. Co-design is key for collaborative design projects that include individuals from diverse skill sets to execute a design goal.

From final users to partners, each opinion is important in the creation of something new. The purpose of co-design is to discover unique perspectives through collaboration and to include user and stakeholder opinions in decision-making.

What is a Co-design Space?

A Co-design space is a setup specifically designed to assist and encourage this kind of collaborative work culture. A space consisting of all resources, and technologies that can help aid each stage of the design development process, be it ideation, prototyping, branding, fabrication, etc. Creating a pool and network of different services such as co-working, maker space, incubators, accelerators, etc. a co-design space houses all these facilities at single-point access to make the idea to execution journey efficient via the design process and/or design-thinking methodologies. An all-inclusive space like this can help the designers and creators of today become the entrepreneurs of tomorrow. For an aspiring designer/creator who is familiar with basic production techniques and already knows how to make the first prototype; a Co-design setup makes it easier for them to find a one-point resource ecosystem for the production of a design idea through rapid prototyping and testing processes. Normally, a Co-design space can include an ideation room. Computer workstations with design software, prototyping workshop, materials inventory, and fabrication support. It is a space dedicated to providing an idea development and execution ecosystem to budding entrepreneurs and creators, including design students, fresh graduates, freelance designers, and young startups in order to help visualize, build, test, and seed their ideas. A breakthrough solution for the rapidly growing Design community. A collaboration hub and one-point resource for idea development and execution with a focus on promoting skill-building, self-sufficiency, design-thinking, and entrepreneurship. The space curates for designers; a range of fabrication resources under one roof allowing them to embrace the market norms without compromising their design integrity. Below are a few benefits and values a co-design space can bring to its users:

Benefits:

Process > Jugaad

It is crucial that the process-based production line takes over the ever-prevalent ‘Juggad’ mindset to make Designs globally accepted. A Co-design Space enables users to follow the design process down to its last detail to come up with solutions to achieve the design goals. A process-based approach helps the outcome to be long-lasting, thought out, and impactful in the long run. 

 Being around people better than you

The kind of person you become depends on the kind of company you keep. Visit a co-design space to be around that company. Come across people with a creative mindset that believe in the power of design and problem-solving. Evident hustle culture is always present where ideas are born and executed. A co-design space gives you the chance to be part of that culture.

Networking made easy

One tends to network better when present in the physical vicinity of the person. Co-design spaces are filled with designers and design teams working on their ideas/projects and constantly looking for reviews and opinions of others to make their design process better. Get introduced, talk about ideas, build something together, and create your design industry networks that last a lifetime. Come across students, professionals, startups, or just hobbyists and explore the true meaning of Collab(orative) Therapy.

Open innovation

In a world of increasingly complex problems, collaboration is vital. The motivation to work together to create ideas in areas such as healthcare, education, and governance is more pressing than ever. These problems require distinct stakeholders to come together and actively create, in order to improve the systems and services. Open innovation refers to the discussion of ideas publicly and sharing/pooling of resources to help make the ideas a reality. Based on trust and empathy, the culture of open innovation is readily seen in a co-design space as individuals understand the importance of originality in the design process. This culture helps promote a mindset toward innovation that is contrary to the secrecy and silo mentality of traditional corporate research labs.

Promote trust and growth

With the existence of open innovation, trust and growth come naturally. Designers can build off of each other’s skillsets and technologies to come up with new solutions. A basic understanding of the value of intellectual property exists that helps build trust amongst co-designers and co-creators.

Self-sufficient and skill-building

The design process teaches skills that enable designers to take an idea from a sketch to a tangible product. Including skillsets such as ideation, prototyping, manufacturing, one can truly become self-sufficient to take their ideas from thought to reality. With access to techniques such as woodworking, rapid prototyping, design thinking, and more, designers that use co-design spaces have a high potential to expand and develop their skillsets.

Your design shrine

With all resources available under one roof, co-design spaces are like design shrines and collaboration hubs for idea development and execution with the help of multiple stakeholders. 

Conclusion

The challenges our world faces are too great to be tackled by a single field. More than inviting designers or engineers into the process, users, customers, patients, and other stakeholders, need to be brought in as active co-designers, to confront the big issues and develop ways to improve their experiences or co-create a new solution.

Author
Collab Therapy