<style> .ev { opacity: 1 !important; transform: translate(0) !important; } </style>

Co-design for social innovation and organisational change

Journal paper published in International Journal of Design for Social Change, Sustainable Innovation and Entrepreneurship (discern)

Date Published: 01 November 2020

Co-design for social innovation and organisational change is primarily about how co-design can support social change within the communities and organisations with which they collaborate. This is important because behavioural and organisational change is usually associated with the emergence of social innovations. Authors Mirian Calvo and Maddy Sclater explore the collaborative nature of co-design and how this research approach can become a vessel to respond to the cultural demands of a society eager to participate, as well as how the practice of co-design can be a catalyst for social change and social innovation using participatory design walking methods. Walking is a natural human activity, and in this project, it was re-purposed as a participatory design method to place the participants in a social environment with which most of them were familiar. Yet the facilitated walks engendered boundary spaces, which disrupted participants’ everyday thinking, reconfiguring their relationship with the physical and social attributes of a social enterprise and its surrounding, by adopting sustainable ways of living and working together, in community.

The paper briefly looks at similarities on the notions of co-creation, socialisation of design, community-based co-design, and examines an action research project conducted in Scotland. The project, called Tools for Renewal, formed part of a larger research project called Leapfrog.

For those of us involved in collaborative design, social design innovation, and participatory research, this paper may be of interest, and some concepts may apply to our practice. Calvo and Sclater invite us to open our eyes and consider the aesthetic dimension of design as a disruptive experience because it opens up a boundary space, a third space, between the social and performative actions of the participants and the production of ‘new’ emotions. These ‘new’ emotions led to relational and behavioural changes in the members of the organisation, and this prompted organisational changes, which led to social small innovations within the social enterprise.

Open access here

Related projects