PROUD Partner Meeting in Luxembourg

Disaster struck on arrival at Brussels airport when we were informed there was a baggage handler strike and that we should not reply on getting our luggage until the end of the week. After an epic journey by rail and an emergency shopping trip to a mall to buy some essentials we settled down to the partner meeting which was held at Technoport, a newly regenerated area which includes new university buildings and space for business and a FabLab, all set within in a now defunct steelworks landscape

We have been asked by the lead partner to prepare a ‘hyperinteractive’ workshop on the 9 principles of co-design developed through our experience of the Beyond the Castle co-design challenge.

Using the Hexagons tool, Leon asked the group to first respond to each principle in a negative way by stating if they disagreed with the principle and why. This was followed more positively by asking people what they liked about the principle, also if the felt they should be re-worded or added to in any way. Our aim was to road test the principles with the co-design experts in the room each of whom are running their own co-design challenge in their region.

The result of this session were most interesting. The most contentious co-design principles was ‘Use the expertise of all participants in the process’. Several responses questioned whether the competence of participants and their ideas could be of a high quality. They felt that to avoid chaos peoples expertise should to be introduced in an organised way and at the right moment for the project. An equal number of opposing responses wished to break down existing hierarchies when exchanging knowledge and engage people at all stages of the co-design process.

‘Expect to go beyond the average’ was the only principle the group did not disagree with in any way. Going beyond average solutions was agreed to be a major aim and rationale for undertaking a co-design project. Working transnationally as in the PROUD project was thought to ensure innovative solutions by bringing different skills and backgrounds together. They believed that co-design develops solutions that are more sustainable, due to users and stakeholders in creating the solutions themselves.

A visit to The Musem of Modern Art in Luxembourg city centre rounded off a great first day. More on how we improvised a 3 hour co-design masterclass without our prepared materials that were left behind in the baggage strike at Brussels airport to follow.