Design between Co-creation and Leadership

… busy, busy, busy … I’m far behind with topics I’d like to write about, struggling with “writers block” symptoms (at least for this blog) ;-) and new business opportunities which are appearing on the horizon …

Anyway while I’ve promised to share some more conference impressions from the KISD 2006 DM conference this morning I’ve stumbled across this source at Mark’s/Experientia’s PPF-Blog called “Ten potential pitfalls of participatory design methods”. Keywords like “Customer Co-creation”, “Product Customization” or “Partizipatives Design (as we Germans tend to name it; sounds very elite-like ;-) popped-up several times in the context of “Leading with Design”.

However these statements are leaving some aftertaste since according to my perception “Co-creation” or “Participatory Design” is very often blending with giving up “(Process) Leadership”. Let me put it this way: While a “brand” (should) leaves room for subjective, individual “brand experience” as the brand owner (do I hear Mike’s keyboard clattering ;-) you are clearly seeking not to loose overall control. You rather provide an experience corridor.

In a similar logic Jeff Axup in his blog “Mobile Community Design” describes the most relevant pitfall in “Participatory Design”:

“Pitfall 1: Asking participants to design objects themselves

This is different than participants providing feedback or proposed variations on existing designs. Participants are usually not trained designers. Consequently they can produce bad designs or feel uncomfortable doing unfamiliar design activities. A potential solution is to provide participants with simple designs in primitive forms that invite variation and re-appropriation. A related problem is that if users have too much power to control designs, they may advocate poor designs, or designs that avoid automation. Few workers want their jobs replaced, but many automation technologies from traffic lights to ATMs make our lives easier and more effective. Pitfall 2 also relates to another aspect of expecting users to design.”

Therefore be a Design Leader!

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