Design Management Academy 2017 Hong Kong

Track 4.a Changing Design Practices: How We Design, What We Design, and Who Designs?

*Erik Bohemia, Loughborough University London, UK
Kerry Harman, University of London, UK
Silvia Pizzocaro, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
Pınar Kaygan, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
* contact:

Co-design is a process in which designers and users collaborate as ‘equals’ to develop innovative solutions (Bertini & Plumley, 2014). Co-design methods are increasingly used by professional designers to facilitate and enable users to co-develop innovative solutions for ‘themselves’ (Mitchell, Ross, May, Sims & Parker, 2015; Steen, Manschot & De Koning, 2011). For example, the Design Council is advocating the use of co-design methods to support the development of practical innovative solutions to social problems such as increased cost of elderly care and tackling child poverty (Design Council, n.d.). The involvement of users in developing solutions acknowledges that their take up is dependent on the ways users make and negotiate meanings of objects and services (Vossoughi, 2013).

But what do we know about co-design practices and what they enable in terms of innovation and social change and transformation? What theoretical tools are useful for exploring participatory practices such as co-design? Why co-design now? What are the conditions contributing to changing design practices?

The theme track provides a platform to explore relationships between culture, communities, producers, consumers, meaning making and design innovation and the practices of co-design to better understand social change and transformation.

Indicative Reference

Bertini, P., & Plumley, E. (2014). Co-creation: Designing with the user, for the user. UX Booth. Retrieved from UX Booth website:

Design Council. (n.d.). The knee high design challenge. Retrieved from

Mitchell, V., Ross, T., May, A., Sims, R., & Parker, C. (2015). Empirical investigation of the impact of using co-design methods when generating proposals for sustainable travel solutions. CoDesign, 1–16. doi:10.1080/15710882.2015.1091894

Steen, M., Manschot, M., & De Koning, N. (2011). Benefits of co-design in service design projects. International Journal of Design, 5(2), 53–60.

Vossoughi, S. (2013). A survival guide for the age of meaning. In R. Martin & K. Christensen (Eds.), Rotman on Design: The Best on Design Thinking from Rotman Magazine (pp. 55–59). Toronto: University of Toronto Press.