Co-creation: designing with


Designing a new methodology, process, or product needs to be approached with consideration for the user. Even better, the intended user should be part of the design process. In the context of cultural change, including the members of the culture during the creation of an implementation plan is crucial. This approach invites the intended user to provide feedback and inform a design. This is a co-creative approach to design.

This approach is reinforced when tackling individual change. Motivational Interviewing in Health Care introduces “the spirit of M.I” as collaborative, evocative, and honoring patient autonomy. Here, the success of motivational interviewing is dependent on the cooperative and collaborative partnership between the patient and the clinician. The distinction between a traditional consultation and the collaborative approach is the recognition for behavior change. This collaborative approach abandons to traditional model where an expert clinician directs the passive patient to a treatment plan. Instead, the patient takes an active role and decision-making is a joint process. Motivational Interviewing insists on this collaborative approach and acknowledges it is ultimately up to the patient to enact whatever changes need to be taken.

In an organizational setting, Tim Brown emphasizes the importance of co-creation when explaining the proper approach for designers to engage with the people they are working with. He says that the boundary between creator and consumer needs to be blurred. Tim continues by explaining a designers approach should not be “us versus them” or even “us on behalf of them” but instead it should be “us with them.”

Using a co-creative approach that includes the intended user allows for designers to develop a sense of empathy. This is the fundemental level connection that designers gain from their observations of people. Developing a sense of empathy brings the people we are designing with beyond being “subjects of observation” or “standard deviations.” The foundation of design thinking is translating observations into insights and insights into meaningful concepts. An empathetic, co-creative approach allows designers to create more meaningful, successful concepts.

The Advisory Board acknowledges that each academic health center is unique. As ten different academic health centers informed their composition, they explicitly state “it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all model.” Each organization has its own unique priorities and resources. As a new innovation center defines its process and design, it should be informed by the unique needs of the organization it is being designed for. Including members of the academic health center during the establishment of centers for innovation will allow these centers to better reflect and support the culture in which they exist.


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