Abstract

Design emerged and spread at the beginning of the industrial era in a strongly industrial and product-oriented environment. Therefore it developed and consolidated around the notion of industrial product. Today, different voices are calling for a new role for design as a driver of innovation. Especially the notion of co-design, intended as the process of involving customers and end users in developing new products and services has been largely discussed as a source of competitive advantage and as a key element of innovation for companies. Co-design can help companies in generating new and alternative solutions that can satisfy the market needs mainly exploiting approaches and tools that allow customers to express their creativity. On the contrary scarce attention has been spent on the phenomenon of “co-designing with companies”, as a participated design process that takes place between professional designers and people working in companies. This form of co-design shows different characteristics with respect to co-designing with end users. It emerges as a complex process that: (i) aims to apply design methods and competences to investigate the current problems that impair a company to innovate; (ii) considers codesigners as experts, who bring into the innovation process their expertise, along with the company’s culture, values, rules, processes, technologies (which may at the same time impair or enable innovation); (iii) is a learning process, during which co-designers can observe and make practice with the way in which designers investigate the space of a problem and develop visions of the future that can support innovation; (iii) normally ends with ideas for artifacts and services, but also with intangibles results, such as new business models, new processes and rules, new competences, new organizational structures, which may affect the company’s vision, strategy, culture, leadership and processes of development, pushing the company towards transformational changes.

Keywords

co-design, design processes, organizational change

COinS
 
Jul 1st, 12:00 AM

Co-creating with Companies: A design led process of learning

Design emerged and spread at the beginning of the industrial era in a strongly industrial and product-oriented environment. Therefore it developed and consolidated around the notion of industrial product. Today, different voices are calling for a new role for design as a driver of innovation. Especially the notion of co-design, intended as the process of involving customers and end users in developing new products and services has been largely discussed as a source of competitive advantage and as a key element of innovation for companies. Co-design can help companies in generating new and alternative solutions that can satisfy the market needs mainly exploiting approaches and tools that allow customers to express their creativity. On the contrary scarce attention has been spent on the phenomenon of “co-designing with companies”, as a participated design process that takes place between professional designers and people working in companies. This form of co-design shows different characteristics with respect to co-designing with end users. It emerges as a complex process that: (i) aims to apply design methods and competences to investigate the current problems that impair a company to innovate; (ii) considers codesigners as experts, who bring into the innovation process their expertise, along with the company’s culture, values, rules, processes, technologies (which may at the same time impair or enable innovation); (iii) is a learning process, during which co-designers can observe and make practice with the way in which designers investigate the space of a problem and develop visions of the future that can support innovation; (iii) normally ends with ideas for artifacts and services, but also with intangibles results, such as new business models, new processes and rules, new competences, new organizational structures, which may affect the company’s vision, strategy, culture, leadership and processes of development, pushing the company towards transformational changes.

 

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