A quick definition first:
Co-creation means just that: to co-create, to create with the people it is being created for. Its aim is to achieve outcomes which are sustainable and have longevity. Therefore, involving the future users/members of the public in the design process it is easier to identify the weaknesses and strengths of the designs, as well as to create something that suits the needs and wants of the users, which generates ownership and engagement.
Now, our case study:
We did social research using design tools. So it was creative, eye-catching and visual.
We did not make assumptions but gave voice to the community.
We were lucky and found some of the community champions.
We gained the trust of the community so they worked with us.
We co-designed a social enterprise working with members of the community and local stakeholders.
We got funding to make it real.
Now the community is taking over. You can see at the meetings (and it is really exciting) that the community members involved are not just involved – they own the project now.
Till that point: awesome. We got it!
But now implementation season has come. We have reached that point where we need to put things in place if we want the implementation to succeed. It is, out of any doubt, a great challenge.
As designers we have worked with them to create something of value. We now have to step out and let the community take the lead. But sometimes the meetings become a bit wild. Some of us are still involved. We have become part of the community. But we are there just as support.
So now my question is:
Reached this point, where should we stand? Should we step back in and act as facilitators? Or should we let the project evolve and take its natural course?