DisCO: a distributed co-design approach

Reflection on the pilot studies

Rosendy Galabo, David Pérez and Leon Cruickshank delivered two online workshops to test new co-design online approaches: one internal workshop to Imagination colleagues and another one to an external partner to the Together An Active Future (TaAF) team. 

In the first online workshop, over 30 participants explored and develop creative ways to engage with research groups and external partners at distance. Together, we identified challenges and explored opportunities by creating presentation slides using shared PowerPoint templates embedded to Microsoft Teams. Firstly, participants identified five main challenges of doing online workshops as a group (1) Body language, (2) Using tech effectively, (3) Lack of flow to conversation, (4) Genuine interaction with laughter and warm, and (5) poor UK Broadband infrastructure. Secondly, they generated creative approaches in groups of 5 to address these challenges, such as approaches for more accessible meetings, managing expectations and limitations of online approaches, getting beyond the screen, and exploring the language of online interactions, and then discussed these approaches as a group. This 2-hour workshop generated interesting ideas and prompted participants to think about new ways of conducting research at distance. We took forward some of the DisCO ideas and learning from this workshop and try them out in an evaluation workshop with an external partner.

In the second online workshop, we arranged with Ken Barnsley and TaAF team to run a workshop to introduce evaluation tools to 6 local teams (10 people) and develop creative approaches. Participants were asked to identify a program they wish to evaluate and define their success criteria before the online session. For this online session, we tried out an ice breaker that required them to go beyond the screen and find three objects that could help them measure something, so participants could get warmed up for the following activities. We presented some of the evaluation tools co-designed in Leapfrog, and then we asked participants to work in pairs to develop creative evaluation approaches, and discuss and improve their ideas as a team. The TaAF team will carry on with refining their approaches and put them in practice as a result of this online workshop.

These online workshops allowed us to test and reflect in our DisCO approach, and generate principles to work in digital environments. We suggest a set of principles that are clustered in the three co-design layers of practice: Planning and Facilitating events, and Designing creative interactions.

More details in the report below.

Pilot studies report