Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council: A Day at the Grand Co-Design Café

Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council present their Co-Design of Consultation Tools project at high profile gathering of co-design masters in Eindhoven during Dutch Design Week

The Grand Co-Design Café in Eindhoven brought together some of the leading co-designers from across Europe, with participants from Netherlands, France, UK, Poland, Luxemburg and Scandinavia. This was part of the international PROUD project with the aim of sharing best practice and innovation in co-design practices. With a select audience of 65 masters of co-design we saw projects ranging from a values driven project involving 5,000 people, to projects in Kenya, Sydney and Chile to new models of entrepreneurship.

The PROUD project based in the UK developed by Lancaster University and Lancaster City Council looking at the Co-Design of Consultation Tools were honoured to be asked to present as part of this event. The theme of the event was ‘co-design the process, mess and success’. We talked about our close collaboration with the City Council on the development of a new set of consultation tools for engagement officers to ‘grab and go’, that is tools that do not need a huge lead time or lots of effort to deploy.

Gemma Coupe the design manger for PROUD in the UK talked about the Zoner prototype for space marking and way-finding and the commenter tool for people to contribute to the debate in a fun and intuitive manner. Leon Cruickshank talked about the mess! This included the issues caused by using a metal hammer on a wooden stake but also the challenge of making a tool that would last for 5 years in the sometimes abrasive environment of the Lancaster and Morcambe environment.

Helen Ryan, a Lancaster Council engagement officer but very much part of our team talked for the longest about successes. This included a real emerging affinity for co-deign in her consultation practice. She also talked about the effectiveness of the co-design process she was part of here, the tools we are designing with the 2 professional designers working the project are going to be great! She also looked to the future and the opportunity to continue working on projects that were both high profile across the UK and Europe but also have direct, real benefits to Council activities day-to-day.

The presentation we gave (available to download here) was very well received. One of the most noticeable elements of the feedback we received was how unusual and pleasing it was for us to have a representative from the public sector actually presenting with us and being part of the team. This demonstrated a cross over between Council Officers engaged in Consultation, academic research’s from Lancaster University and the talented designers employed, all working together this has proved to be a formidable team. Here at the University we very much look forward to further projects with the Lancaster City Council both within PROUD and in further projects.


Co-Designing Public Sector Consultation Tools

A presentation given to the Grade Co-Design Cafe, during Dutch Design Week 2013

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