Abstract

The collaborative aspect has become a prominent focus in design discourse and words like user- driven innovation, user studies, participatory design and co-creation are frequently used in the design terminology of researchers, practitioners, not to mention business organizations. This reflects a shift in attention from product and manufacturing to users and experience. Normann (2001) speaks of reframing business and arguably the changing landscape of design as described by Sanders and Stappers (2008) is making designers reframe their practice. (cf. Schön, 1991). Employing user studies, participatory design and co-creation looks like an easy and accessible way towards innovation, unlocking the creativity of the customers to develop future business. To no surprise these words are buzzing around the business and design offices. However it seems, the buzz is failing to deliver, and it is important to question why. Using co- creation as an example, we claim that businesses and designers are stuck on the buzz. Borrowing a term from cognitive psychology, we argue that cocreation has created a fixation among businesses and designers, where the strong focus on the innovative potential of users as co- creators paradoxically has become an obstacle for both radical innovation and real co-creation. The paper brings an overview of different and conflicting perspectives on co-creation, and explains how these perspectives stem from different paradigms. Furthermore, the paper suggests designers to consciously reflect upon the image of design and designers. We want to highlight researchers from both design and business who claim design and design thinking to be a new way of bringing both insight and innovation, a new way of working with thought, human systems and design-driven innovation (Buchanan 2001; Verganti 2009). We think it is time to encourage designers to expand their current vision from user-driven innovation to design-driven innovation. It is time to reframe design from a designer’s perspective – and why should designers not have the capabilities to reframe business as well?

Keywords:

Co-Creation, Fixation, Design Practice, Business Perspective, Design Perspective, Paradigms, Innovation.

Share

COinS
 
Jul 7th, 12:00 AM

Reframing Business – and Design? – A Critical Look at Co-creation

The collaborative aspect has become a prominent focus in design discourse and words like user- driven innovation, user studies, participatory design and co-creation are frequently used in the design terminology of researchers, practitioners, not to mention business organizations. This reflects a shift in attention from product and manufacturing to users and experience. Normann (2001) speaks of reframing business and arguably the changing landscape of design as described by Sanders and Stappers (2008) is making designers reframe their practice. (cf. Schön, 1991). Employing user studies, participatory design and co-creation looks like an easy and accessible way towards innovation, unlocking the creativity of the customers to develop future business. To no surprise these words are buzzing around the business and design offices. However it seems, the buzz is failing to deliver, and it is important to question why. Using co- creation as an example, we claim that businesses and designers are stuck on the buzz. Borrowing a term from cognitive psychology, we argue that cocreation has created a fixation among businesses and designers, where the strong focus on the innovative potential of users as co- creators paradoxically has become an obstacle for both radical innovation and real co-creation. The paper brings an overview of different and conflicting perspectives on co-creation, and explains how these perspectives stem from different paradigms. Furthermore, the paper suggests designers to consciously reflect upon the image of design and designers. We want to highlight researchers from both design and business who claim design and design thinking to be a new way of bringing both insight and innovation, a new way of working with thought, human systems and design-driven innovation (Buchanan 2001; Verganti 2009). We think it is time to encourage designers to expand their current vision from user-driven innovation to design-driven innovation. It is time to reframe design from a designer’s perspective – and why should designers not have the capabilities to reframe business as well?

 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.