CFC Media Lab – Journal #2

Class #2 – Situating the Prototyping – 4th of July

I am a firm believer in co-creation. Even though it is challenging for me to define what it means, I have always found it very useful in my practice. For my thesis, I am interested in looking at co-creators and their design process, so it only makes sense if I approach the prototyping in the same manner.

Elizabeth Sanders was my first readings on the role of participation in research. In her paper, An Evolving Map of Design Practice and Design Research,

Liz Sanders. 2008. ON MODELING: An evolving map of design practice and design research. Interactions 15, 6 (November 2008), 13-17. DOI:

she maps the move from expert mindset to participatory mindset in both design and research. She touches on the “loose ends,” and how we will not be able to reach a full co-creation status until we stop calling in customer co-creation.” For me, the fact that we are still attached to the old frame of work, where the users are the customers and the designers are the experts who are creating for the customers is a red flag.

In her other paper, Co-creation and the New Landscapes of Design,

Elizabeth B.-N. Sanders & Pieter Jan Stappers (2008) Co-creation and the new landscapes of design, CoDesign, 4:1, 5-18, DOI: 10.1080/15710880701875068

Sanders and Stappers define co-creation as “any act of collective creativity.” They present a more specific type of co-creation, co-design. Co-design is a particular instance of co-creation referring to the combination of the designer and the “not trained” people in the design process working together to create something. Co-designing is not a new concept, just one that we are taking a closer look into now. They talk about the history of the practice of co-creation in design, and how in Northern Europe it has been under the name Participatory design whereas in the United States it has been under User-centred design. Even though we have learned the benefits of participatory design, we still don’t see full participatory models in work.

Another interesting point they highlight is the change in the role of the designer, the researcher and the user that has been brought by co-designing.

  1. The users have shifted from passive object studies
    into experts of their experience.
  2. Researchers have moved away from analyzers of the user’s experiences and turned into supporters of the user’s expert experiences.
  3. Designers have stopped doing all the creative thinking in the process and turned into the giver of forms to the ideas of both the users and the researchers.

What is really interesting in this change is how the design tools have become the primary way these three groups communicate with each other and common ground where all their decision makings occur.

Going back to my thesis and project, I want to build is a tool that I can later use as a way to capture all the decisions that are being made in a design process and use the data to explore different ways that I can document that process. So I can say the project is to build an outcome centred prototype to run then workshops which would lead to more context centred prototype where the scenario becomes more important. My goal for the CFC class is to create a middle-fidelity prototype that I can use to frame my research question and situations that I am interested in exploring.


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