Design by Fire

Design by fireOn 13 October we gave a talk at the one-day seminar Design by Fire in Utrecht, organised by HuH (Haring institute of Happiness) and CHI Nederland. One of the presentations that preceded us used an unconventional format that turned into a lively event. The presenters, Remko van der Lugt (Hogeschool van Utrecht) and Sander Mulder (Yppah), invited everybody to gather around a projected diagram on the floor and to discuss the positioning of various case studies along two axes relating to co-creation. The results of this discussion are documented in on a wiki page.

The issue of co-creation is is not an easy topic to gasp. Designers are intrigued, especially the ones that like to experiment, but they are also a bit wary that this might mean that amateurs will take over their jobs. How to find a healthy balance between involving people, or end users, in the design process and keep a grip on the main ideas and style of the final result?

In our talk, that closed off the programme, we tried to explain that this is exactly where social or people research comes in. With a careful process of eliciting needs/preferences/concerns/ideas from people, followed by an empathic way of analysing this data and communicating it to the wider design team, a skilled researcher can smoothly bridge the two realms of the studio and the outside world.