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Contexts of Co-creation: Designing with System Stakeholders: Theory, Methods, and Practice

  • Ontario College of Art and Design University

Abstract and Figures

The concept of co-creation includes a wide range of participatory practices for design and decision making with stakeholders and users. Generally co-creation refers to a style of design or business practice characterized by facilitated participation in orchestrated multi-stakeholder engagements, such as structured workshops and self-organizing modes of engagement. Co-creation envelopes a wide range of skilled social practices that can considerably inform and enhance the effectiveness of organizational development, collaboration, and positive group outcomes. New modes of co-creation have emerged, evolving from legacy forms of engagement such as participatory design and charrettes and newer forms such as collaboratories, generative design, sprints, and labs. Often sessions are structured by methods that recommend common steps or stages, as in design thinking workshops, and some are explicitly undirected and open. While practices abound, we find almost no research theorizing the effectiveness of these models compared to conventional structures of facilitation. As co-creation approaches have become central to systemic design, service design, and participatory design practices, a practice theory from which models might be selected and modified would offer value to practitioners and the literature. The framework that follows was evolved from and assessed by a practice theory of dialogic design. It is intended to guide the development of principles-based guidelines for co-creation practice, which might methodologically bridge the wide epistemological variances that remain unacknowledged in stakeholder co-creation practice.
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3© Springer Japan KK, part of Springer Nature 2018
P. Jones, K. Kijima (eds.), Systemic Design, Translational Systems Sciences 8,
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing
withSystem Stakeholders
Peter Jones, OCAD University, Toronto
P. Jones ()
OCAD University, Toronto, ON, Canada
For educational use by provision of the author, do not circulate or share.
Abstract The concept of co-creation includes a wide range of participatory prac-
tices for design and decision making with stakeholders and users. Generally co-
creation refers to a style of design or business practice characterized by facilitated
participation in orchestrated multi-stakeholder engagements, such as structured
workshops and self-organizing modes of engagement. Co-creation envelopes a
wide range of skilled social practices that can considerably inform and enhance the
effectiveness of organizational development, collaboration, and positive group out-
comes. New modes of co-creation have emerged, evolving from legacy forms of
engagement such as participatory design and charrettes and newer forms such as
collaboratories, generative design, sprints, and labs. Often sessions are structured
by methods that recommend common steps or stages, as in design thinking work-
shops, and some are explicitly undirected and open. While practices abound, we
nd almost no research theorizing the effectiveness of these models compared to
conventional structures of facilitation. As co-creation approaches have become cen-
tral to systemic design, service design, and participatory design practices, a practice
theory from which models might be selected and modied would offer value to
practitioners and the literature. The framework that follows was evolved from and
assessed by a practice theory of dialogic design. It is intended to guide the
development of principles-based guidelines for co-creation practice, which might
methodologically bridge the wide epistemological variances that remain unac-
knowledged in stakeholder co-creation practice.
In less than a decade, the promise of participatory design as a sustained practice has
diffused into mainstream practice as design co-creation. Co-creation has emerged as
a normative mode of participatory engagement for design ideation, creative problem
solving, and decision making. While contemporary practitioners may regard these
practices as accepted methods, they have evolved over a 50-year period or more,
from earlier forms of co-creation based on social systems and democratic practice
theory. In this lengthy integration into common use, the diffusion of co-creation
conrms a social form of Buxton’s (2008) “long nose” of innovation, whereby new
forms of practice incubate for long periods before adoption. Throughout this period,
a deep foundation of knowledge and principles has been formulated, contested, and
practised based on supporting research from social and systems sciences. However,
we can observe that knowledge, methods, and practical applications from the origi-
nating systems practices, in particular, have not been translated to modern co-design
and workshop methods. The concern for collaborative efcacy addressed here
claims that normative design methods have not fully developed and remain at risk
of degradation into popularized forms insufcient to the complexity of design prob-
lems purportedly addressed by co-creation.
As creative and traditional participatory design methods became popularized
across a wide range of contexts, co-creation (or co-design) has emerged as a com-
mon reference to participation (Sanders & Stappers, 2008; Robertson & Simonsen,
2012). Systemic design practices have developed co-creation approaches that inte-
grate social systems principles to guide stakeholder design for complex systems.
However, emerging design schools such as systemic design, service design, and
transition design offer little precedent for research support or universal guidelines
for co-creation. Where systems methods cite prior scientic principles to support
intervention approaches, design practices often follow “best methods” that are
assumed to embody effective principles. Design co-creation methods that fail to
account for social systems principles are vulnerable to systematic errors that might
result in problematic consequences.
This study addresses the contexts, structures, and processes of design co-creation
methods considered essential practices in systemic design. To better bridge theory
across design disciplines, we include comparable practices such as design thinking
workshops, stakeholder engagements, and participatory and collaborative design
methods. The philosophy of co-creation, drawing on participatory design and demo-
cratic practices, assumes that stakeholders will achieve satisfactory outcomes if
given responsibility for decisions and have equal status in convening roles. However,
if we fail to compare these practices with other structures for engagement, we may
assume or conclude that successful outcomes are causally determined by certain
methods, when many rival hypotheses could explain either benecial or unsatisfac-
tory outcomes. If we merely valorize the perceived goodwill or social benets of
co-creation, we risk obscuring critiqueof co-creation methods. Our avoidance of
critical discourse inhibits collective scientic learning and, pragmatically, the ability
to constructively improve these methods.
Co-creation practices are highly variable in outcome, are contingent on the skills
of individual practitioners, and have limitations of which their practitioners are
unaware. These are similar concerns expressed in the communities of team consul-
tants, group facilitation practices, and across all types of dialogic practices. As these
practice concerns have not been addressed sufciently in the literature, the problem
of collaborative efcacy is introduced in this study as a concept of assessment.
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What requirements can be identied for effectively adapting co-creation to match
the demands of real-world complexity? Our design choices in co-creation practice
must have sufcient power to anticipate and effect desired outcomes in target social
systems following a design workshop.
Four current questions of co-creation practice are explored and developed:
How can we improve our ability to understand social system contexts and to
select appropriate co-creation methods to the context?
How can we enhance collaborative efcacy in design co-creation?
• How does system context determine stakeholder representation for complex
social systems?
What systems science models might signicantly enhance co-creation practice?
Background andContexts
The practices assigned to the term co-creation are observed across several domains,
and in all cases we nd not a coherent methodology but a term of art encompassing
many methods. As with other modes of psychosocial understanding (e.g. sensemak-
ing), a framework for practice supported by theory would usefully inform capacities
for collaborative efcacy and engagement. A framework enables the transfer of
knowledge and training across different domain practices and the development of
new skills upon a corpus of accepted knowledge. The intent of the current study is
to propose a framework and methods, supported by an established (but relatively
unknown) practice theory, to improve the capacity of organizations to advise and
enact systemic design workshops with clients, users, and other stakeholders in com-
plex engagement situations.
Both design and systems methods employ participatory stakeholder engage-
ments, whether referred to as inquiries or interventions (in systems modes) or work-
shops and studios (in design). Group intervention practices based on systems theory
include published processes such as Interactive Management (Wareld & Cárdenas,
1994), Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider et al., 2008), and Team Syntegrity
(Espinosa & Harnden, 2007). Design co-creation practices are not as formally docu-
mented or developed. Numerous branded methods have been developed based on
structured brainstorming and creative problem solving. Three classes of methods
are frequently identied by both design and systems schools: creative problem-
solving methods (Osborn, 1963; Nadler, 1981; Basadur etal., 2012), organizational
development (Owen, 1987), and group deliberation processes. VanPatter and Pastor
(2016) organized 63 process models into six distinct groups, all of which involve
co-creation practices:
Creative problem solving
Design process models
• Product design
Service design processes
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
• Organizational innovation
• Societal innovation
The VanPatter and Pastor report did not perform an evaluation and comparison of
method efcacy; rather, they identied (mapped out) internal structures and the
applicability of methods to practice contexts. No similar peer-reviewed evaluation
has been published to validate the effectiveness of co-creation methods in their
appropriate contexts. Many specied methods, even if claimed as scientically
based (e.g. MG Taylor and Basadur Simplexity), are branded or proprietary craft
practicesand thereforedifcult to validate or compare. For these reasons, as well as
the difculty of mastering multiple methods, we nd minimal peer critique of meth-
ods between practice communities.1
Branded co-creation methods are typically supported by core practice communi-
ties, trained facilitators that become associated with a single method, even if trained
in many through exposure to related practices. Continuing in-cohort practice and
invested expertise generally results in a kind of method allegiance, so we might
argue that little motivation exists for professionals to objectively assess the effec-
tiveness of a preferred co-creation method. Due to the absence of critical cross-
evaluation or peer review of practice methodologies, we might propose that
co-creation methods would be enhanced if they were evaluated and improved by
assessment according to scientic or reference standard principles.
An unbiased assessment of prevailing methods would present a methodological
challenge—what evaluation criteria would be deemed acceptable by the different
schools of practice? How could relative levels of expertise be measured? How could
the relative effectiveness between methods be presented fairly across practices with-
out the evaluators having signicant expertise in the methods themselves?
These questions are raised but not answered. The purpose of this study is to iden-
tify methodological and developmental issues shared between all co-creation meth-
ods and to recommend a common methodological solution. The assumption is made
that systems theory and design methods mutually inuence and enable more effec-
tive design co-creation and collaboration, and indeed that both are necessary for
collaborative efcacy in stakeholder engagement. The knowledge claim is that sys-
tems science provides a basis of principles and guidance for assessing and qualify-
ing the effectiveness of all co-creation methods.
Recreating Co-creation
A review of published practices of design co-creation reveals a scattered literature
across related disciplines. Forms of structured co-creation, as a stakeholder organiz-
ing activity, are noted across disciplinary journals, from collaborative design to
1 This observation is made based on the author’s personal involvement across many group method
communities of practice, from the period of research for Handbook of Team Design (1998) and
continuing into the latest design thinking practice groups, including international online communi-
ties and conference-based communities.
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design methods to dialogue workshops. The concept of co-creation has evolved
independently across several broad disciplines and manifests differently in busi-
ness, design, or systems elds. There is no apparent canon or core theory of co-
creation that the various schools or approaches all recognize. If a widely accepted
methodology is to be adopted and propagated across many practices claiming its
use, it might make sense for the disciplines that promote co-creation to seek and
specify a common referential basis.
Co-creation asTheory ofValue
The dual distinction of “co-creation” as a design process and as a business value-
nding process requires some clarication from the literature. Value co-creation
was established as a core theoretical concept in the business literature by Prahalad
and Ramaswamy (2004a). Value co-creation was proposed to encompass the shared
value constructed between a service provider and consumers in their interaction with
the provided service, of value in use, where value is co-created between the provider
(and their constellation of resources) and consumers in interaction. In this perspec-
tive, value is not “delivered” or exchanged but co-created in active use. Prahalad
raised early issues regarding value co-creation through experience (Prahalad &
Ramaswamy, 2004b) as the basis for value realization. A radical vision for its time,
they raised numerous questions only recently studied, for example, with respect to
the means by which rms might engage in dialogue with consumers, the emerging
governance structures for online rms with massive user bases, and the determina-
tion of appropriate management styles and methods for co-creation with customers.
Several systematic reviews of value co-creation (Voorberg, Bekkers, & Tummers,
2015; Galvagno & Dalli, 2014; Frow etal., 2015) demonstrate the development of
studies with empirical support for value co-creation theory, extensions, and applica-
tion studies.
Co-creation is also found as a concept of value, rather than an organizing activity,
in business innovation contexts. Co-creation represents the realization of value
propositions in business contexts and in stakeholder engagement (Frow etal., 2015),
and the concept of value co-creation is proposed by service-dominant logic (Vargo,
Maglio, & Akaka, 2008). Further, Ind and Coates (2013) have connected the busi-
ness theory of value co-creation to the co-creation of goods and services in collabo-
ration between consumers and organizations. They extend the context in which
co-creation occurs to the meaning-making among participants in a value constella-
tion, including customers, designers, managers, and other stakeholders, equally. Ind
and Coates suggest participatory design as a means of co-creation, but recommend
no particular methods or practices.
However, many of the theoretical issues raised remain unaddressed, in particular
the questions of “how” value co-creation occurs and the observed construction of
the experience of value in particular domains. Prahalad’s theory has been translated
to the practices of design co-creation, where the formulation of new product and
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
service propositions and artefacts are co-produced to embody the preferences and
values of consumers, through key users. This leap, as it were, from theory to method
might be considered one of the most inuential contributions of value co-creation.
Co-creation asDesign Method
In design elds, co-creation is understood as a mindset for creative participatory
practice (Sanders & Stappers, 2008), with the adoption of co-creation mindsets fol-
lowing the diffusion of design practices into corporate and public organizations. Yet
design co-creation has also been constructed as a process method in action research,
as a means of facilitating stakeholder workshops in formal design. If co- creation
workshops are to be used in qualitative research, a foundation of canonical work
and guidelines might be expected as in any codied disciplinary practice.
The published review of design co-creation process models by VanPatter and
Pastor (2016) is one of the few accounts that compare and describe factors across
these models. The systems literature does not often refer to the term “co-creation,
but reveals a long history of group intervention and problem structuring methods.2
The systems studies explicate methodologies for group interventions, but do not
differentiate collaborative (co-creative) versus expert-led methods. Neither design
nor the systems literatures compare relative effectiveness of co-creation methods,
again because there are no accepted criteria (across practices) for process or out-
come evaluation.
Co-creation methodologies (or methods) are difcult to compare because they
are performed in very different practice contexts. Co-creation methodologies can
include modes of facilitation (e.g. Art of Hosting), creative organizing (OASIS),
generative co-design, and dialogics (Open Space, Appreciative Inquiry). These
practices can be rightfully dened as methodologies when structured as frameworks
entailing a system of mutually coordinated methods. Yet they are frequently pre-
sented as philosophical stances and not formal methods. Even when referenced in
social science studies, their phenomena and outcomes are discussed, but not their
performance or measures of effectiveness with group behaviour or engagement
quality. This study aims to provide a foundation for dening performance criteria
and the t of co-creation methods to appropriate contexts and effective adaptation.
In practice, facilitated or workshop methods are rarely assessed for their t or
weaknesses in a given context. The open literature may be biased by numerous
practitioner studies reporting on craft workshop techniques recruited as generative
design methods. There are also few scholarly articles that present cases describing
applications and outcomes of more than one co-creation method. The quality crite-
ria for this area of design practice is not guaranteed by adherence to standards or
2 Two widely cited discussions, although not systematic reviews, include Mingers and Rosenhead
(2004) and Midgley, Cavana, Brocklesby, Foote, Wood, and Ahuriri-Driscoll (2013).
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evidence, or even to process criteria, but to the participants’ assessment of work-
shop outcomes. Evaluating a nal result cannot resolve the counterfactual of what a
better process might have been.
Co-creation Systems
Systems approaches to co-creation are recognized by their appearance in the sys-
tems literature and their specications of systems science principles underpinning
the methods. Systems methods have been developed to support collective planning,
social change, and organizational development, all atypical contexts for design
practices. Systems methodologies imply their adoption of design as a process, not
as a creative discipline but as an approach to synthesis in problem solving and
creation of future alternatives, and to “dissolve wicked problems” through system
redesign (Pourdehnad, Wilson, & Wexler, 2011). According to Pourdehnad’s review,
the distinctive difference between design thinking in system and design modes is the
different focus of designing activity. Systems co-creation identies stakeholders as
the designers in co-creation and designers as participants invested in their future
aims, plans, and outcomes—a central distinction emphasized by Christakis
(Christakis & Bausch, 2006).
Systems co-creation methods are developed by formulating models, identifying
systemic principles, and evaluating by continual and improving use over numerous
cases. Systems methods can account for over 70years of methodology develop-
ment, as even basic workshop methods cite Lewin (1951), Mumford’s ETHICS, and
Trist’s Search Conference. Organizational practices for large group intervention and
team collaboration developed through guidance from the systems sciences, since
the development of the Tavistock Search Conferences by Emery and Trist as early
as 1958 (Emery & Purser, 1996), and Jungk’s development of the Future Workshop
in the early 1970s (Jungk & Müllert, 1987). These methods predated participatory
design (i.e. Bjerknes et al. 1987) and anticipated the large group interventions now
considered common practice.
Structured systems-inspired methods for collective sensemaking (co-creation)
and decision making were developed following the era of normative planning and
direct stakeholder engagement, as advocated by Özbekhan (1969) and Jungk in the
1960s. Following Lewin’s change methodology and the Tavistock Search Conference
model, early organizational change methods were directly based on social systems
methodology. During a period when design workshops rarely ventured outside the
immediate client context, systems thinkers Wareld and Beer were developing soft-
ware algorithms to represent group decision making in emerging consensus build-
ing methods. The IBIS (Issue-Based Information System) methodology (Kunz &
Rittel, 1970) was also developed during this era and adapted for collective issue
analysis decades later with the Dialogue Mapping process (Conklin, 2006), an
embodiment of IBIS.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
The four common systems-oriented co-creation methods include Team Syntegrity
(Leonard, 1996), based on Beer’s methods; Appreciative Inquiry (Cooperrider &
Srivastva, 1987), based on Ackoff’s idealization methods; Future Search (Weisbord,
1992), based on the Emery and Trist Search Conference; and Structured Dialogic
Design, based on Interactive Management (Wareld & Cárdenas, 1994). All of
these share an explicit underlying principle of selection for requisite variety and/or
idealization, even though each has uniquely distinct modes and other principles.
Systems co-creation methods evolved from the development of scientic theory
anticipating collective human behaviour. Well-developed sets of principles and
methods of multi-stakeholder participation have been developed within these sepa-
rate practices by peer review in discourse communities. Little work has been pub-
lished relating the underlying theories to one another; as with design co-creation,
practitioners of one method have not blended or integrated these forms.
Design Co-creation
Design co-creation emphasizes the collaborative, generative creative participation
of individuals in design-led workshops and group practices. Sanders and Stappers
(2012) describe co-creation as an evolution of participatory design practice that can
be conducted by one or more of three modes: mindset, methodology, or tools for
engaging users and stakeholders. Design co-creation emerged as a general approach
to participatory design resulting from the broader adoption of co-creation as both
method and mindset.
Searching for the sources of design co-creation reveals a range of commonly
adapted practices, from participatory design (Muller, 2003) and IDEO’s design
thinking methods (Brown & Katz, 2011) to the adoption of the “unconference”
derived from Open Space (Owen, 1987) as a co-creation structure.
Design co-creation draws from an ever-expanding range of creative ideational
activities employed with appropriate external participants that inform generative
ideation, the essential function of co-creation. The context for participation is a key
differentiator in design practices. The four design domains in Fig.1 suggest four
populations of participants. Design 2.0 entails product and service design, a context
in which product users are situated as the primary participants informing co-
creation. Design 3.0 (organizational process) draws on the population of an organi-
zation and their knowledge and values from managers, staff, and employees. Design
4.0 draws from across stakeholder populations for social contexts of any scale—
community members or citizens, for example, or members of an industry. By deni-
tion, the contexts for Design 1.0 are not indicated for co-creation. Design 1.0
involves non- complex design tasks sufcient for a designer or team under direct
guidance and not directly informed by stakeholder engagement.
Since roughly 2010, the trend of increasing demand for Design 3.0 (intra-
organizational) and 4.0 (social/societal) applications has driven the integration of
systems-informed inquiries with design methods. After early attention towards eld
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development of theory, methods, and cases, a current focus among scholars (as rep-
resented by other articles in this volume) has turned towards developing these
contributions to improve performance in their applicable practice areas. Systemic
design may be ultimately valued and recognized for eld development and method-
ological contributions to practices and human performance in social systems.
A recent trend in design co-creation is perhaps an antithesis of systemic method-
ology. The “sprint” (Baneld, Lombardo, & Wax, 2015) is an emerging co- creation
workshop approach that has gained use in business and public sector contexts,
derived from the agile development processes now accepted and widely used in
Fig. 1 Design domains and associated contexts
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
corporate practice. As its name suggests, the sprint process favours a rapid action
mindset and is an intensive approach to early-stage design production and value
proposals. Sprints draw on available organizational participants (Design 2.0 and
3.0) and typically proceed without user research or eld studies. Sprints are similar
in intent and process to joint application development (Carmel, Whitaker, & George,
1993) and Team Design (Jones, 1998) methodologies, in process and facilitation.
These practices all share in common their origination as business-oriented strategies
to maximize stakeholder and user responsiveness for often limited periods of team
time involvement. The difference with the sprint is its emergence within a signi-
cantly different business culture than in the 1990s. JAD and Team Design aspired to
become participatory practices, but such approaches remained at cultural variance
to North American business organizations. The sprint process has revived the struc-
tured facilitation of these methods, with goals of high productivity and return on
Among the notable trade-offs in rapid design co-creation are the lack of time for
challenge reframing, the high probability of low stakeholder variety, the groupthink
effect facilitated by the consensus drive to immediate accomplishment, and the brit-
tleness of design proposals constructed in a rapid linear process. However, with the
emphasis on early-stage design (initial creation) in the sprint or JAD modality, the
products of these workshops are never nal and are formally assessed, further
developed, and evaluated by process teams following the co-creation event.
Co-creation inDesign Process
While design co-creation can inform and facilitate nearly any collaboration, it
emerges as necessary in complex domains for which a design team would not have
knowledge or agency. In earlier work (Jones, 2014), we illustrated four domains that
dene contexts for design team, participation, and venue for design activities.
Figure1 presents this scaled model differentiating relationships that facilitate the
focus of design attention to sensemaking (understanding and articulating stake-
holder concerns for design decision), change-making (orienting design decisions
towards social or organizational change), or “strangemaking” (articulating design
products as distinctive means of shaping attention, as in design of brand identity).
The venues—Studio, Workshop, Ofce, or Lab—reect four currently practised
applications. The framework developed further in the article proposes new distinc-
tions for these venues as contexts aligned to design purposes.
Design 1.0Design Ofce or Studio. Simple design problems, well dened by
briefs. A small design team working within a team context, guided by project spon-
sors and a design brief.
A “strangemaking” context where the typical object of design is to produce a
distinctive, original artefact perceived as unique and high quality.
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Design 2.0Design Studio. Complicated but not organizationally complex design
problems, resolvable through contemporary methods. A multidisciplinary design
team in service to sponsors (product/service owners), typically using an iterative
design process in a studio environment.
Balance of sensemaking (e.g. the consensus of understanding developed
fromuser research) and strangemaking (the unique offering and position of product
in a market).
Design 3.0Design Workshops, usually at sponsor locations. Complex organiza-
tional problems, which may appear complicated until differences in stakeholder
positions are recognized. Contexts are not knowable to external design rms, and
conventional methods may be inadequate to the complexity of power, history, and
routines in an organization. Design team plus multiple expertise disciplines in
stakeholder workshops within an organizational setting.
Sensemaking context, with object of design to reach understanding and facilitate
decisions for value co-creation for the organization itself, rather than markets. Yet
the problem space remains complex and sensitive to the overdetermination of
Design 4.0Design “Labs” hosted by third-party mediators for multi- organizational
workshops. Complex problem space that is identied as an external situation of
concern to the stakeholders, such as climate change or affordable housing. Sponsors
may be a supra-organization, but the multi-stakeholder context may call for offsite
or “neutral” locations for workshops.
The object of design may be a strategy, policy agreement, operational concepts,
or plans developed by parties in sensemaking context. Methods are entirely oriented
towards sensemaking and achieving shared understanding for mutual action.
A default context for formative design co-creation assumes a workshop setting
with client and/or user participants joining an extended design team. The physical
venue might be a large, supplied conference room or a studio room in the design
These venues or settings represent genres or habitual modes of practice devel-
oped through accommodation to increasing organizational adoption. As venue and
process structures have become less formal through greater adoption of co-creation
activities, a wider range of creative and participatory methods have been drawn in
to facilitate collaborative ideation and creative visioning and planning. Informal
design practices appear to demand less organizational investment. With greater
acceptance of informal design-led modes, the demand for more formalized, vali-
dated methods has declined, due to the comparative time and costs involved in man-
aging highly structured process. As sponsors have become conversant in the genre
of structured collaboration workshops and relax concerns for their productive out-
put, increased demand has emerged for shorter engagements, faster turnaround, and
immediate deliverables from co-creation activities. A framework for systemic
design co- creation is proposed to enable designers to balance these economic and
organizational demands with the necessary activities that guarantee quality out-
comes and collaborative efcacy.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
Co-creation andCo-design
Design co-creation workshops have experimented with mixes of systems practices
and design methods in various ways. A common approach is to develop systems
thinking models for understanding contexts and relationships in existing problems,
and design thinking as methodology to create formative or future possibilities.
Typical methods present a system as an existing complex situation that requires
inquiry to achieve a common understanding of patterns, behaviours, and places for
intervention. Interventions are designed as future options for change in the existing
Co-creation approaches, whether as mindset or method, have become adopted as
design thinking methodologies across corporate and public sectors (Ind & Coates,
2013). Due as much to their accessibility as effectiveness, design thinking methods
have expanded into government and social services and increasingly policy and
governance. Fred Collopy argues that, because systems thinking failed to demon-
strate wide adoption in management practice, design thinking offers a potentially
more productive approach for managers and organizations to engage in complex
problems (Collopy, 2009). His argument recognizes the lack of system dynamics
reasoning by managers, after more than a decade of training and promotion in busi-
ness education (Senge, 1990). Collopy proposes that the iterative, product-oriented
creative tools of design thinking readily align to the project-oriented work practices
of contemporary organizations.3 While design thinking has now become a broadly
adopted approach, its inuence in management practice has still not been estab-
lished, even after a decade of curricular promotion similar in many ways to the
systems movement. In co-creation practice, the envisioned integration of thinking
methodologies might be developed or fused in the enacted practices of managing
projects and multi-stakeholder production.
Co-creation inSocial Systems
In the complex, non-parametric (and indenite outcome) design contexts of Designs
3.0 and 4.0, collaboration among decision makers, experts, and stakeholders
becomes a requisite to facilitate agreements and mitigate risks of foresight and exe-
cution uncertainty. These contexts for co-creation are complex social systems,
involving design and decision processes for large organizations, public sector insti-
tutions, industry consortia, healthcare systems, and similar organizations. Complex
contexts differ from the problem framing orientation of design, where the shared
goal might be to optimize a product or service proposition. Co-creation within
3 Jones (2009) joined this argument by suggesting that systems thinking was not widely adopted
because it failed to address the everyday coping practices of managers, not that it failed as a rea-
soning mode per se. This proposal suggests a blend of systems thinking with design tools might
better resolve complex concerns in innovation contexts.
P. J o n e s
social systems requires dialogue to elicit, understand, and contrast perspectives and
positions, as only dialogue is able to resolve the “variety” in the system context of
interest. Both Christakis and Beer argued that forms of dialogue are necessary for
channelling and satisfying the requisite variety in a complex social system.
Co-creation can be understood as a variety transformer, which accepts the high
variety of inputs in a problem system and guides the resolution of positions to a
preferred, commonly held reduction of variety into agreements and design
A substantial body of knowledge on dialogue science exists that might inform
co-creation methodology. However, while some models of dialogue are situated in
complex organizational settings (e.g. Isaacs, 1993), there is no consensus regarding
dialogue methods in design co-creation. It seems likely that systemic design prac-
tices could be signicantly enhanced by the disciplined exploration of dialogic
methods in social systems applications.
A further critical observation is that the micro-practices of dialogue, which require
extensive inquiry and sufcient time for listening to all positions, may be at odds with
the action-biased approaches of generative design co-creation. From critical observa-
tions, it also appears that the time demands for dialogue constrain the practices and
therefore choices in design co-creation. An argument can be made that these are false
limitations driven more by expediency and the increasing demand for time-efcient
practices. The integration of dialogue in design co-creation has not been sufciently
evaluated in real applications to address these supercial assessments.
Framework Development
The effective transfer of learning from a situated methodology to a new domain
requires a clear denition of principles and options known in practice and from
cases. This study applies the methodology of dialogic design to design co-creation.
It follows scientic principles from Wareld’s (1986) Domain of Science Model
(DoSM) and models extending the DoSM (Christakis & Bausch, 2006; Christakis
& Dye, 2008).Wareld promoted the DoSM as a methodology for improving and
sustaining a methodological practice, which could include a discipline or design
process, following a rigorous process of self-observation, evaluation, and adapta-
tion over the cycles of practice. Without intentional evolution of a methodology,
codied processes can drift from the original practice and erode or disappear if not
renewed by continuing application and assessment. As Wareld did not publish the
DoSM, its working paper became used as a reference model for practitioners, as a
kind of practice theory guiding the advancement of systems methods. To our knowl-
edge it has never been applied outside the systems sciences, so the application to
design science in the current research represents an “extension.4
4 The DoSM is extended (in the mathematical sense of a logical continuation of a set) to construct
a reference model of the performance of collective design practices, commensurate with science
and practice.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
The DoSM was designed as a practice framework rst applied to generic design
science (Wareld, 1994), a framework for sociotechnical systems design. Wareld
attempted to establish a rigorous basis for describing and intervening in human
complexity based on process principles, an approach at odds with the emergence of
complexity science at the time. Generic design science is based on structured meth-
ods, the formulation of stakeholder observations, and the use of mathematical for-
malisms to facilitate inter-observer understanding of systemic relations. He
formulated two general laws of practice extended to the DoSM:
Law of limits (all human activities have constraining limitations that must be
observed for effective action)
Law of gradation (conceptual developments, such as in science and design, are
structured in stages of progression)
A series of design principles (laws of practice) were drawn from generic design
science, which Christakis further developed in the dialogic design science
(Christakis & Bausch, 2006; Bausch & Flanagan, 2013). The DoSM requires a cor-
pus of codied knowledge and formal observations to propose extensions to a meth-
odology, constructed from axioms (rst principles) as a reference model. This
framework was applied to the evolution of Structured Dialogic Design (SDD), the
primary practice associated with DoSM.SDD methodology satises both laws of
practice in the DoSM.SDD is founded on a careful match of methods to human
limits, to accommodate the real limitations of cognitive bias, groupthink, and power
relations within individual and collective performance. The extension of the staged
model promotes continuous enhancement to accommodate changing ecologies of
application. Stage gradation enables the transfer of scientic foundations, extending
knowledge from dialogic design (a systemic design methodology) to the design
practices of co-creation.
Application toDialogic Design Practice
While the theories of Wareld have been advanced into practice by Christakis, there
are core “Wareldian” theories that might help bridge systems design practice.
Systemic design can be conceived as optimizing processes for group design and
decision making under conditions of overwhelming conceptual complexity. Based
on Wareld’s theory of complexity, we address the insufciency of any individual
(or conventional meeting) to resolve relevant knowledge and identify enabling dis-
tinctions to make decisions commensurate to the emergent social complexity of a
future-situated problem system. Interactive Management was originally designed to
enable groups to formulate high-quality conceptualizations of problematics and to
achieve durable collective decisions with consensus based on an understanding of
systemic relationships.
The process entails high-quality observations from the requisite stakeholders in
a system to reach consensus through deep (or sufcient) conceptualization to enable
P. J o n e s
effective design decisions and change proposals. Such a description of process and
outcome was at the heart of the DoSM and the dialogic design processes derived
from the model. Wareld and Christakis described the insight within this staged
process model as “lessons of the Arena.
While Wareld did not publish a methodology for applying the DoSM, Christakis
adopted the framework to inform the evolution of dialogic design science
(Christakis & Flangan, 2011). Dialogic design extended the earlier practices of
Interactive Management with a systems science foundation to enable its extension
by the community of practitioners. This process was initiated by the rst compila-
tion of methods and cases (Christakis & Bausch, 2006) and then developed by con-
tinuing deliberations, resulting in a series of publications and a revised methodology
denoted as Structured Dialogic Design (SDD).
Christakis, collaborating with the practice community, articulated a coherent
practice theory and principles that enabled a complete systems thinking process for
democratic, collective decision making drawing on the emergent wisdom of partici-
pants. Essentially, the original process (based on IM) was rigorously analysed by
practitioners for its insufciencies to democratic theory. Using the DoSM as a guid-
ance, principles (e.g. axioms and laws) were assessed to inform a complete method-
ology that would serve the applicable practice contexts in the community. We can
now make the case that through this self-assessment process, dialogic design func-
tions as a meta-methodology, providing a process framework that can support and
validate a wide range of design practices.
A Process forAdvancing Science asReective Practice
Wareld argued that “higher-quality language” had more impact on science than
hypothesis testing, an extraordinary claim and one underdeveloped in science stud-
ies. His argument draws on the observation that scientic knowledge advances based
on the collective understanding of concepts in a language domain. Higher-quality
language enables the effectivity of understanding and the construction of more con-
vincing arguments, allowing scientists (and practitioners) to release strongly held
positions that would prevent the adoption of productive principles and methods.
By extension, the same claim can be made for other disciplines, including engi-
neering, design, and certainly social sciences (wherein theoretical positions com-
pletely unsupported by hypothesis testing are commonly sustained in the literature).
A disciplinary (science or design) language can be claried through dialogue prac-
tices, and very probably similar dialogic practices can facilitate language clarica-
tion in any discourse. However, dialogue to produce meaning shared across
discourses has become essential for complex systems design, which might involve
designers, engineers, scientists, and decision makers. Krippendorf (2000) claims
languaging matters enormously.”
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
Discourses construct vastly different realities into which the ideas of a discourse are
inscribed and in turn become available for inquiry and elaboration. … Different discourses
not only construct incommensurable realities, their pursuit of different paradigms yields
different kinds of knowledge: Experiments are not treatments, and neither are technical
inventions (p.56).
Krippendorff (2000) points out the futility of attempting to harmonize languages
between discourses, as this has the effect of reducing the quality or accessibility of
meaning to those within the relevant discourse of interest (e.g. design). According
to Wareld, the effect of “universal priors” in a discourse based on commonly held
knowledge prevents the advancement of high-quality hypotheses (in sciences) and,
by extension, design proposals. A new language paradigm would be vastly more
productive than sustaining a legacy language that unreexively held embedded val-
ues and positions. However, even as emerging high-quality observations become
validated, pre-existing languages and paradigms can persist well beyond their utility
in the emerging knowledge base.
Wareld proposed several guidelines that address the research questions of this
study, including context of action, stakeholder selection, and validating (selecting)
methodology. His guidance included dictums to use design practices to develop a
basis for a human science that accounted for whole persons in intentional design
and decision activities.
Conversely, the best way to validate a Science is to manage the language through careful
design practices, and to incorporate the Theory of Relations and its isomorphisms as part of
the Foundations of the Science. (Wareld, 1986, p.10)
His recommended process for managing the language of a discipline was a rigor-
ous catalogue of denitions and distinctions for applications. The DoSM proposal
was a call for dening the boundaries and concepts that constituted a discourse.
Wareld believed the means of testing the effectiveness of a design science was to
perform its functions in an application with stakeholders (in an Arena) and then
assess the results in reference to principles established in the theory base (the
Corpus). He indicated in several papers that a similar methodology for consensus
language construction was applicable in organizational (Wareld, 1999) and stake-
holder domains (Wareld, 2007). These proposals allow the current study to bridge
this model from scientic disciplinary contexts to systemic design practice.
DoSM Model andDesign
We also aim to bridge Wareld’s DoSM functional model to design methodology.
The basic model of the DoSM is shown in Fig.2, a staged cycle of processes in a
series from Foundation to Theory, to Methodology, to Applications, and then to
The DoSM represents an idealized process of iterative development of a dis-
course and practice. The model represents a deliberative process that practice mem-
bers follow by anticipating the application of methodology to an evolving range of
problems. For dialogic design science (and practice), the DoSM has been followed
P. J o n e s
through (at least partially) four “learning iterations” by the community of practice
associated with the research.5 The staged cycle was envisioned as developmental,
wherein learning from research in each stage (literations) would yield insights
informing the successive stage.
The DoSM entails four stages in two contexts, the Corpus and the Arena, and
four linkages of translation between them. The Corpus consists of a Foundation—
the prior relevant body of knowledge in a discourse—and Theory. Theory represents
the generative extension of the Corpus with descriptive and normative propositions
that enable new methods and practices to be developed.
The Arena is the primary context for practice, the application of methodology
with stakeholders in a eld setting. Methodology refers to the integration of meth-
ods in a validated framework, in this case Structured Dialogic Design (SDD). The
Application refers to performance of SDD (or theoretically any methodology) in the
context of a stakeholder “arena.
This separation of contexts from purposes applies to other practices such as
design. As in SDD, it will be unproductive to reinvent every engagement in an
Arena; in fact, the impulse to innovate can introduce and transfer risk uncertainties
to stakeholders. The DoSM represents a meta-process however, not a theory of
change or even of learning from a given engagement. By visiting a stage in reec-
5 Institute for 21st Century Agoras, the non-prot organization established to sustain SDD practice
and studies with the social purpose of democratic transformation through structured dialogue
Fig. 2 Domain of Science Model (From Wareld, 1986, image courtesy of Jeff Diedrich)
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
tive practice, a learning reection transfers information and outcomes from that
stage to inform the next. These stage transitions can be summarized as follows:
Foundation to Theory This transition translates knowledge in the form of postu-
lates, or axiomatic proposals that inform theory. New references and practice mod-
els assessed from applications will be documented as foundations. In the Agoras
case, the number of axioms proposed for use in SDD methodology expanded from
four to sixin the rst cycle (2006) and to sevenin a second revision of axioms
(2009). New laws (principles) were also proposed and evaluated over this DoSM
Theory to Methodology Selection criteria are translated to methodology, enabling
selection of methods in a coherent framework. In practice this includes criteria for
proposals or enhancements to a methodology based on theoretical principles. In the
Agoras case, criteria for methods were proposed for virtual SDD engagement
(2006). Revisions to the theory base and methodology have also been developed in
the literature by Agoras members.
Methodology to Application Wareld suggested changes to roles and environ-
ment, but revisions to applied practice often emerge from methodological innova-
tion. In several publications and related engagements, Jones (2014, and with
Weigand, Flanagan, Dye, & Jones, 2014) demonstrated the application of novel
methods for thematic discovery, stakeholder selection, and hybrid design practices.
Application to Foundation The feedback from the eld to inform research
remains a weak link in most disciplines. Theorizing lessons from practice has been
fraught with lack of breadth (across practitioners) and closure (completeness of
measures or balance). Wareld only species feedback as “strengths and weak-
nesses,” a review point that might start a new cycle.
The current study sought to apply lessons from the DoSM in dialogic design sci-
ence to applications in systemic design, a practice area that has developed through
design education (Jones, 2015) and reective inquiry (Nelson & Stolterman, 2012).
The DoSM can be extended to propose evolution of systemic design, drawing on
dialogic design to inform the emerging constellation of systemic design applica-
tions. Systemic design applications typically refer to arenas in the Design 4.0 scale
such as ecological concerns, urban design, health, and other policy or social systems
that require multiple stakeholders.
Translation toCollective Design Contexts
The staged model of the DoSM from dialogic design science is translated as a model
of development for co-creation practice in systemic design. The original language
of the DoSM is maintained for consistent reference to the mode.
6 The seven axioms (and laws of dialogue) are signicant in themselves as design propositions for
dialogic co-creation and are presented in the Framework section.
P. J o n e s
The basis for the proposed DoSM draws from over a period of 10years of obser-
vation in the arena of primarily public sector projects, as well as analysis of cases
from the community of practice. The general process of four stages from Foundation
to Theory, Methodology, and Application is retained. The venues of prior (forma-
tive) contexts reect current co-creation practice as evidenced across numerous
Adapting the DoSM to design co-creation required a signicant change to the
stage contexts. More recent practices and studies have dened the “Arena” as a type
of practice setting, a private convening context identied by its stakeholders and
their matters of concern. The context of the Agora for stakeholder design was devel-
oped by Christakis as a reference to the open public context congruent with the
Athenian agora, dened by its accessibility to publics. The Agora discloses a demo-
cratic, participatory context articulated by its availability to public stakeholders.
Where participants may be invited to an Agora, the context of the Agora represents
an accessible venue available to interested members of society. An Agora is dened
by the context that the public extends to the venue and its dialogue, rather than by
the topic or issues dened by the conveners.
The Arena encloses a selected body of stakeholders representing external poten-
tials for action. There are two types of arenas that occur together in practice. One is
the venue of a multi-stakeholder engagement that attempts to formulate a micro-
cosm of the actual social worlds of action in which the stakeholders participate. The
other is the sociopolitical idea of arena, dened by Mintzberg (1985) and later Renn
(1993) as the organizational context of decision actions by which problems are
framed as signicant, risks are identied, and resources are allocated. Both of these
are implied in the arena of co-creation.
The DoSM for design co-creation is presented as a reference model from the
domain of science to anticipate and formulate design functions in four stages.
Numerous case studies can be assigned to support and dene appropriate practices
within each stage. Unlike the DoSM, the contexts do not match each stage precisely,
a boundary quandary indicated in Fig.3. Two contexts (Arena and Agora) are both
Applications. Foundation and Theory can be assigned to the Lab. The Studio extends
the design of Methodology from the Lab.
Extending the four stages of the DoSM are four contexts of the Lab, Studio,
Arena, and Agora. These are observed to match the arrangements of each context for
the purposes of co-creation and specic forms of group sensemaking in each stage.
Lab The Lab provides a venue for internal research and deep analysis, theory
building, and creating new artefacts to evaluate in a studio setting. The Lab repre-
sents the most focused venue and smallest number of organizational participants,
and would not typically engage managers and decision makers. Consistent with
scientic laboratories, the social and design lab provides the most value as a venue
for internal development of systems design proposals, formulation of engagement
approaches and methodology, and rigorous evaluation of design options.
In systemic co-creation practices, members can collaborate on creative proposals
drawing from the sources in the Foundation. As a task of corpus development, the
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
Lab activities draw from across applicable sciences and knowledges (design, sys-
tems and cybernetics, philosophy, social sciences, engineering, economics).
Sensemaking activities consist largely of problem understanding and framing,
including social research, and identifying external references and stakeholders
appropriate to dening and advancing methodology.
Studio The Studio represents an internal venue for collaborative design activities
conducted to develop concepts, proposals, or prototypes. The Studio is appropri-
ately named based on generations of design education and client work conducted in
studio contexts. As the Lab is a strictly “experimental” and developmental context,
the Studio provides a place for members to productively collaborate on dened
projects in nascent form. The Studio facilitates sociomaterial activities of construc-
tive making. It perhaps is better dened by its composition than its physical environ-
ment, as it is one where a core design team invites multidisciplinary collaboration
with relevant experts, process advisors, and technical masters.
As suggested by Fig.3, the Studio (in the context of the DoSM) affords team
members the appropriate place to select and develop methodology planned for spe-
cic engagements in the Arena. The Studio can be a temporary zone used by team
members, client representatives, and invited experts to construct and evaluate plans
and engagements. Revisions to methodology, prototype models, and trial sessions
can be constructed and evaluated by the team in advance of Arena engagements.
Fig. 3 Stages of DoSM in co-creation contexts
P. J o n e s
Sensemaking activities in the Studio comprise largely of problem understanding
and framing.
Arena Christakis and Wareld dened the Arena as the venue for engaging stake-
holders representing the requisite variety of a social system in issues of their direct
concern. An “Arena” (Renn, 1993) may be understood as a symbolic location of
political action that inuences collective decisions. Rather than a specic organiza-
tional or policy context, it implies the sociopolitical environment of design process
or decision making for outcomes of interest to the selected stakeholders.
Stakeholders are not participants because of their beliefs or even expertise, but
based on their capacity to take action and motivate others towards preferred out-
comes. The requisite variety of a social system almost guarantees that stakeholder
positions, power, and motivations will reveal conicts or be at odds. The appropriate
methodology for negotiating the structural and emergent complexity of the Arena is
dialogue—design “qua design” is insufcient to address power variances, and the
anticipation of arena constituents requires sufcient methodology and dialogue
management capacity.
Unlike the Studio, the Arena context is strictly facilitated; collaboration is struc-
tured to prevent inequitable decision or unbalanced coalition formation that might
offset perception of the possibility of a consensus outcome across all participants.
Arenas are often held in neutral locations with the ability to specify and control the
environment. If a large “design studio” environment is used for smaller stakeholder
meetings, there may be symbolic meaning to stakeholders.
An Arena differs from the other venues in that only committed stakeholders are
invited. A salient process management concern is to facilitate a fair and productive
environment with respect to decision power and appropriate stakeholder variety.
The Arena constitutes a context for direct application of methodology for the benet
of participants.
Agora The Agora extends the model of design co-creation to democratic contexts,
by restoring the committed citizen stakeholder as central to a public. The Agora is
not necessarily a venue or place. An Agora shows up when members of a public
participate in purposeful dialogue or congregate to co-create and act on a social
position. The Agora extends the domain of Applications from Arena to the open
public sphere, which becomes enframed for an issue or purpose through disciplined
The Agora differs from other stages in the DoSM cycle in that the Arena does not
expand or extend to form or inform an Agora. It extends the DoSM however as it
establishes a new domain of application praxis informed by prior science and meth-
odology learned in Arenas over time. The Agora holds the potential for signicant
development of public power and inuence, beyond that of the Arena’s typical col-
lective problem-solving orientation.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
Systemic Design Framework
There are several hundred publications of studies and signicant cases demonstrat-
ing the effectiveness of SDD and (over 20years ago) Interactive Management. Most
of the methodological development and experimentation remains unpublished, fol-
lowing the tradition in sciences of only reporting peer-reviewed ndings and out-
comes. The current study builds on the foundation of Flanagan’s development with
Christakis (Christakis & Flanagan, 2011) and with Bausch (Bausch & Flanagan,
2013) of the major components of a corpus for the SDD methodology. I extend the
DoSM to co-creation in systems design practices developed respectfully on the col-
laborative scholarship of this discourse community.
As in any scientic development, the history of progress is reported through
snapshots of research output. The long cycles of developmental work are rarely
reported. In the research group associated with the research,7 the DoSM cycle has
been advanced within three cycles of development and up to four partial cycles,
since 1997. The major cycles of development are represented by formulation of new
Foundation concepts, revisions to Methodology and evaluated trials, and enhance-
ments to practice in the Arena. Observations are presented in summary, incorporat-
ing by synthesis the results of research tasks in each cycle.
Process ofModel Development
Evaluation and design within the DoSM cycle followed a design-oriented action
research process, with a basic series of problem framing, data collection, assess-
ment and analysis, and reection on ndings. Internal sessions as well as full client
workshops (applications) were documented and analysed for stakeholder outcomes
and methodological effectiveness. Plans, trials, and analyses were also documented
throughout the process.
The purpose of the DoSM is to provide guidance for the disciplined cooperative
development of a “science” or a body of rst principles and methodologies accepted
as a working body of knowledge in a practice. The power of a scientic mode of
knowledge production, whether for a research discipline or a methodology such as
SDD, is that learning and improvements to the practice can be validated and gener-
alized. The “science” at minimum contains the body of knowledge and the rules
(methods) for exploiting the knowledge for productive human ends. Without con-
ducting practice research, the innovations developed by practitioners in the Arena
can be lost or remain invalidated “personal” styles of facilitation. If we fail to evalu-
ate the effectiveness of new theoretical propositions, the discipline risks slipping
into a craft practice. This slippage between a proposed methodology and its perfor-
mance in the Arena remains a common drift observed in design practice.
7 Institute for 21st Century Agoras is a non-prot organization established by Alexander Christakis
and a core group of senior practitioners and scholars dedicated to the development of democratic
practices based on dialogic design science.
P. J o n e s
The objectives of the 5-year period of practice-based design action research were to
identify and respond to salient gaps in the practice, improve and adapt dialogic design
methodology to the emerging discipline of systemic design, and thereby redirect the
DoSM to a novel design context. The study did not originally envision changes to the
modes of co-creation, yet the analysis revealed this opportunity and expressed the fol-
lowing ndings, most of which require further research or theorizing.
1. Adapt Co-creation Methods to Contexts
Design co-creation approaches in most design practice are largely based on the
Studio model (informal small-group workshops) and one-off large-group Arena
workshops. Due to the popular framing of organizational innovation “labs,” no
distinction is made between activity types suitable for different contexts, as
nearly any project context can be represented as a “lab” in current practices. To
expand the strategic options available to design practice, consideration ought to
be given to the DoSM distinctions that dene meaningful contexts for different
design activities, participants, and outcomes. Therefore, a denitive lexicon of
co-creation frames is proposed.
2. Design Thinking Co-creation Is Insufcient for Complex Systems
Conventional design-led approaches can be shown as insufcient and too short-
sighted for the complexity of Design 3.0/4.0 problems. Workshops often rely on
popular methods for user understanding such as empathy mapping, idea genera-
tion based on small-group brainstorming, and concept formation based on
randomized small-group co-construction. These may result in the creative satis-
faction of an enjoyable learning experience, but often yield little or no commit-
ment to development or insight into systemic issues in a complex situation.
Design thinking’s reliance on rapid co-creation methods may offset the effective
adoption of structured or staged design methods. Typical design thinking
approaches advocate generative creativity to maximize ideational productivity
(e.g. “generating more ideas leads to more of better quality”). Continuing reli-
ance on popular modes of design co- creation can erode the potential for struc-
tured, rigorous, or systemic approaches that require signicantly more investment
from participants and sponsors. Design professionals are responsible for enrich-
ing the vocabulary and methodological variety available to clients and collabora-
tive projects.
3. Effective Co-creation Requires Continuity of Consultation
Co-creation workshop events require signicant support and planning if they are
to offer stakeholders more than just facilitated design ideation. Planning and
follow- up engagements are often neglected in the design management process,
as the skills and objectives for continuous episodes of work differ from those in
stakeholder engagement events. Long-duration, continuous engagements (over a
year) require consultation for sponsors and their stakeholders to develop a capac-
ity for effective design and action. The DoSM accommodates an extended cycle
by introducing skills and management in the Studio context, in advance of Arena
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
4. Adaptive, Staged Planning for Successful Co-creation
For Arena contexts with committed participants, a signicant period of inquiry
becomes necessary in advance of design co-creation, or the engagement risks an
incomplete apprehension of problematics and may suffer from insufcient dialogue
towards consensus. Studio workshop practices can be employed to frame focus ques-
tions and materials to aid stakeholder understanding in successive Arena
5. Stakeholder Accommodation Conicts Managed by Context
Longer-duration consultations may be necessary for long-term productive out-
comes, consistent with the time required to enable organizational learning cycles.
In many arenas, we can report that stakeholders demand radically shorter time
periods per discrete session. An ever-increasing observation among SDD practi-
tioners is that our stakeholders (not necessarily sponsors) are unable to invest
2–3days duration for mixed-participant co-creation sessions. Workshops of just
a single day or less have become more common. We can observe a change in co-
creation practices (and method) as design teams continue to accommodate stake-
holders by reducing the engagement life cycle to timeframes managed by
sponsors. Stakeholders (mixed participants) invited to sponsored co-creation ses-
sions in an Arena often require shorter, focused sessions supportive of their
decreasing accessibility. Structured co- creation is required to facilitate suf-
ciently productive results from these constrained performance timeframes.
6. Insufcient Stakeholder Discovery Risks Variety Decit
A signicant weakness in design co-creation is insufcient attention to stake-
holder variety and discovery, by relying on immediate, interested, and available
participants without carefully determiningrequisite sampling variety necessary
to fully inform the scope of an inquiry. A critical enhancement to (Arena) prac-
tice in this study is a formulation of rigorous stakeholder selection and analysis
methods that support requisite variety in stakeholder discovery and associated
thematic development of triggering questions.
7. Methodological Research to Improve Mixed-Presence Co-creation
With broad collaborations across geographies and increasing experience with
teleconference services, we nd an increasing desire for effective mixed-pres-
ence co-creation. The employment of mixed-presence modes for SDD and
Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) in collocated and remote Arena sessions
remains underdeveloped and lacks validation in the literature. Signicant prog-
ress has been made in recent software platforms for creative co-creation. The
specialized software systems for SDD (including ISM algorithm development)
are now web-hosted and improved.8 Emerging web-based software platforms and
8 The primary software systems for SDD include Cogniscope 3 and logosoa. Emerging platforms
such as Idea Prism (Future Worlds Centre) are being developed for large-scale remote participa-
tion. The Interpretive Structural Modelling algorithm is technically a public domain routine but is
developed and maintained within the practice communities that use it regularly, inclusive of the
development teams for the SDD software.
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videoconferencing have not been validated in methodology (Lab), trials (Studio),
nor Arena applications.
These seven observations summarize several fundamental and recurrent prob-
lems in co-creation practice. They are not reported in the literature, perhaps due to
the inability to openly observe or assess methods in practice research and the rela-
tive lack of practice validation studies. Co-creation has been treated as a proprietary
craft practice, similar to other design methodologies in wide use (e.g. Open IDEO9)
that are also unreported in scholarly studies. Design co-creation is not yet treated as
a scientic domain that encourages replication and serious external contributions.
For co-creation to be determined as “systemic” however, some degree of criteria
and tests might be considered that could demonstrate how intended system-level
outcomes can be achieved productively. A systemic design methodology ought to
also foresee and resolve problematic organizational, social, and psychological con-
stants affecting group sensemaking.
Co-creation System Model
We propose a general model for co-creation practices across contexts, synthesizing
from the ndings of DoSM research for two practice areas, dialogic design and
systemic design. Figure4 presents the four stages based on the DoSM indicating the
customary contexts for co-creation in design practices.
Co-creation in design practice cannot be formalized as a scientic canon; we can
instead promote a disciplined attempt to generalize known principles as a model for
further development.
While the Corpus/Application model derived for scientic development could be
retained, the contexts for design have been represented appropriately to support cur-
rent practices. As four “venues” these are associated with four domains of design
activity in systemic design contexts:
1. LabAcademic and Experimental. A Lab context is a private, exploratory
venue for core design teams to develop concepts and methods. A Lab provides a
safe- to- fail methodological testbed for formulating proposals and conducting
individual and small-group design activity. Core design research teams require a
dedicated venue, free from sponsor or project involvement, to be a proper “labo-
ratory.” With the conation of the term “labs” now associated with all types of
design workshops, the notion of a lab as a private working space for internal
teams may be eroding.
2. StudioDesign-Led Exploration. The Studio environment provides a collab-
orative setting for all team members to work together on projects in active
9 Open IDEO ( provides resources for design thinking and co-creation in member-
led design challenges, most of which are public sector or community value projects, attesting to the
“open” reference in the organization.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
co-creation and development. In design practice there is a continuous need to
convene small groups for concept development, workshop preparation, prototyp-
ing, and methodological design. Engaging sponsor team members in studio ses-
sions, design will follow a cycle of workshop encounters and preparation
3. ArenaStakeholder-Focused (private context). The Arena represents the venue
for engagement of committed participants in co-creation in dialogue and deci-
sion making. The Arena provides the context for applications that co-produce
enduring value (beyond the session itself) for both participating stakeholders and
those represented by invited members. The Arena is the only context in the cycle
where we identify “stakeholders” as participants, as the Agora involves citizens
and the Studio engages team members, not stakeholders.
4. AgoraOpen Innovation (public context). The Agora provides an open-ended
context for engagement of citizens and publics as participants in co-creation
through inquiry and futures creation, according to their own self-determination.
Co-creation in the Agora typically engages topical concerns of known public
interest, but the level of investment (commitment) to action or design may be
inchoate, requiring further staging of engagements to create coalitions for action
or dedicated communities of inquiry for an issue.
Three system functions have been identied for each context to dene associated
Fig. 4 Adapting the DoSM to co-creation contexts
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Co-creation structure—The design team and participants in the context (Each
context is expansive to potential containing social systems: Core, Team,
Stakeholder, Value (public or market).)
Design function and process—The purposeful function of that context and essen-
tial process
Outcome of design co-creation—The artefacts or form of design output from the
co-creation process
Table 1 presents a function mapping of the design process and products for the
four contexts, describing the DoSM diagram in Fig.1.
The co-creation framework cross-appropriates the DoSM for the purpose of
design applications. Its utility is validated and valued through development within a
dedicated discourse community, as recommended by Wareld’s original (scientic
domain) application. Further development through research into systems design co-
creation will be necessary to yield a validated set of components to complete a
working corpus. Based on the knowledge contributions of dialogic design science
and the current research, we can propose a framework of components of principles
and methods within the DoSM domains (Table2).
Table 1 DoSM for co-creation in four contexts
Lab Studio Arena Agora
Core co-creation Team co-creation Stakeholder
Value co-creation
Dening and
creating methods,
theorizing from
arena practice
Process and
workshop design,
evaluation, method
selection and
Facilitated events,
stakeholder design
public engagement,
focus on shared
citizen issues in
function and
Concept design Shared model
Futures design
Proposing theory
and method,
models for
Designing session
and workshop
concepts, testing
ownership of
actions, decisions
Citizen co-creation
of proposals for
future policy,
Outcome Process
Methods and
Models, decisions Policies, public
Theory of use,
novel methods,
new practices
Studio products
used in arena
co-create working
models for action
and decision
Citizens develop
proposals for
change and future
public goods
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
The co-creation framework proposal originates from the seven axioms instanti-
ated in dialogic design science, which stand as rst principles that might apply to all
stakeholder co-creation, decision making, and public participation. A total of 16
components are proposed as options to develop as a framework for systemic design
co-creation. These extend from the 16 components dened by the Christakis and
Flanagan (2011) framework, and an attempt is made to maintain consistency with
the original model. However, it may not be necessary to develop all components for
a new framework; these are proposals being evaluated in different stages of
The proposed domain model serves as a synthesis of the study, incorporates the
learning from the prior DoSM cycles performed for dialogic design, and presents a
resolution to the drift of practices in design co-creation. These three trajectories of
the study—theoretical, methodological, and praxis—might each afford an indepen-
dent track of continued research and improvements to practice.
Table 2 Framework of co-creation domain components
1. Foundation domain
Component 1: Axioms (seven dialogic design axioms)
Component 2: Denitions
2. Theory domain
Component 3: Principles
Component 4: Context theory
Component 5: Ontological participation
Component 6: Theory of action intervention
3. Methodology domain
Component 7: Roles and controls
Component 8: Workshop process staging
Component 9: Modes of inquiry
Component 10: Modes of design
Component 11: Modes of anticipation
Component 12: Representation methods
4. Application domain
Component 13: Co-creation workshop: dialogic design co-laboratory (arena)
Component 14: Stakeholder search conference (arena)
Component 15: Civic inquiry (agora)
Component 16: Observatorium (agora)
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Foundation Domain
Foundation: Axioms
The seven denitional axioms10 represent a foundation for a science of co-creation
through collective cognition (dialogue). Axioms precede design principles for the
development of engagement practices. The seven are codied as core functions in
practices of collective cognition for collaborative action. They were proposed (and
articulated by argumentation) as the minimal, meaningful, necessary functions for
supporting rigorous dialogue for social systems design. Therefore, they can be
expected to be equally meaningful to design co-creation fordialogic design pro-
cesses. The seven axioms are summarized as follows, in their canonical numeration,
agreed titles, brief denition, and the author whose work is attributed to the dis-
crimination of the axiom:
1. The Complexity Axiom: Observational variety must be respected when engaging
observers/stakeholders in dialogue, while making sure that their cognitive limi-
tations are not violated in our effort to strive for comprehensiveness (John
2. The Engagement Axiom: Designing complex social systems, such as for health-
care, education, cities, and communities, without the authentic engagement of
the stakeholders is unethical and results in inferior plans that are not imple-
mentable (Hasan Özbekhan).
3. The Investment Axiom: Stakeholders engaged in designing their own social sys-
tems must make personal investments of trust, committed faith, or sincere hope,
in order to be effective in discovering shared understanding and collaborative
solutions (Tom Flanagan).
4. The Logic Axiom: Appreciation of distinctions and complementarities among
inductive, abductive, deductive, and retroductive logics is essential for collective
futures creation. Retroductive logic (referred to in design as backcasting) makes
provision for leaps of imagination as part of value- and emotion-laden inquiries
by a variety of stakeholders (Norma Romm and Maria Kakoulaki).
5. The Epistemological Axiom: A comprehensive human science should inquire
about human life in its totality of thinking, wanting, telling, and feeling, as indig-
enous people and the ancient Athenians were capable of doing. It should not be
dominated by the traditional Western epistemology that reduced science to only
intellectual dimensions (LaDonna Harris and Reynaldo Trevino).
6. The Boundary-Spanning Axiom: A science of dialogue empowers stakeholders
to act beyond imposed boundaries in designing social systems that enable people
from all walks of life to bond across possible cultural, religious, racialized, and
10 The seven denitional axioms of dialogic design science had evolved over a decade of practice
and reection and were instantiated as seven axioms in 2012 (with the addition of the nal axiom
7). A tradition within the community of practice is to identify the original contributor of the pro-
posal by name, without reference to a specic work but by afrmation.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
disciplinary barriers and boundaries, as part of an enrichment of their repertoires
for seeing, feeling, and acting (loanna Tsivacou and Norma Romm).
7. The Reconciliation of Power Axiom: Social systems design aims to reconcile
individual and institutional power relations that are persistent and embedded in
every group of stakeholders and their concerns, by honouring requisite variety of
distinctions and perspectives as manifested in the Arena (Peter Jones).
Foundation: Denitions
Denitions are proposed as necessary for each stage of development, and for this
article proposal, a small set of denitions are provided for the understanding of
propositions. Denitions from the dialogic design science canon (where relevant)
are selected for the developing framework.
Collaborative Foresight—A model of Structured Dialogic Design oriented
towards collaborative futures, where long-term systemic problems are engaged
through strategic foresight by engaging multiple stakeholders in collaborative
problem identication and strategic resolution.
Dialogue—The engagement of observers/stakeholders in discovering meaning,
understanding, wisdom, and actions by means of structured inquiry.
Interpretive Structural Modelling—A matrix algebra method developed by John
Wareld, based on the forced juxtaposition of statements to assess systemic rela-
tionships in terms of their directional inuence. ISM is employed in dening the
inuence structure (systems of challenges and solutions) represented in an SDD
inuence map.
Leverage—Solutions that convey a comparatively high degree of inuence on
other solutions and challenges. In SDD participants assess howcollective prog-
ress on a deep challenge “leverages” progress on other challenges in a system.
Structured Dialogic Design (SDD)—A registered service mark of the Institute
for 21st Century Agoras for the multi-stakeholder dialogue engagement method
for collaborative challenge resolution. SDD is an evolution of the practice of
Interactive Management developed by John Wareld and Alexander Christakis
and is mediated by one of several software systems, including the CogniSystem
and logosoa.
Triggering Question—A thoughtfully dened prompt that combines specic
boundaries with strategic ambiguity. The focus of inquiry is developed over a
period of consultation with sponsor team advisors and the stakeholder candidates
for a dialogue. The triggering question evolves as the design team learns about
participants’ contexts through stakeholder discovery, and is typically presented
in early stages to stakeholders, is evaluated through interviews and trials, and is
presented as nal in an Arena dialogue event. A triggering question frames the
strategic intent of SDD and guides the generation of all challenge/solution group
work. The common format for a triggering question is a simple question struc-
ture, naming the semantic form being elicited (challenge, solution) for a specic
boundary in a specic timeframe:
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Challenges: “What are the challenges we must face in addressing anticipated
climate change impacts by 2025?”
Solutions: “What social and technological options are required to address this
system of climate challenges by 2025?”
Theory Domain
Theory: Principles
What set or sets of theory-based design principles ought to be adopted for a sys-
temic framework for social systems design? We can propose two sets of principles,
which may be characterized as levels of design.
Dialogic design science—Seven principles for guiding effective social system
co-creation practices (e.g. collaborative efcacy)
Systemic design—Ten principles for value discovery and systems design from
systems and design theory (e.g. design viability)
Dialogic Design Principles
The original seven principles in the DoSM for dialogic design science are based on
designing conversations for collective cognition and action based on derivatives of
requisite variety. These seven requisites are documented in Christakis and Bausch
(2006) and include the following (short labels with reference to author):
1. Law of Requisite Variety (Ross Ashby) is a central principle of dialogic design
science and the foundation for the derived principles in the theory, based on
Ashby’s (1958) rule that variety in a system must be controlled or mediated by
equal or greater variety in a control system.
2. Requisite Parsimony (G.A.Miller, 1956) is based on the limitation of short-term
memory, the psychological principle of the attention to 7 +/ 2 chunks of infor-
mation in a short-term presentation. Wareld proposed that when individuals are
in problem-solving situations with other participants, short-term attention
becomes limited to 3 +/ 0units of information.
3. Requisite Saliency (Boulding, 1966) states that the relative saliency (distinctive-
ness) of observations can only be understood through comparisons within an
organized set of observations.
4. Requisite Meaning and Wisdom states that meaning and wisdom are produced in
a dialogue only when observers search for relationships of similarity, priority,
and inuence within a set of observations. This principle is attributed to
C.S.Peirce’s abductive logic (Frankfurt, 1958).
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
5. Requisite Authenticity and Autonomy in distinction-making demands that during
the dialogue it is necessary to protect the autonomy and authenticity of each
observer in drawing distinctions (authorship attributed to Tsivacou, 2005).
6. Requisite Evolution of Observations states that learning occurs in a dialogue as
the observers search for inuence relationships among members of a set of
observations (authorship attributed to Kevin Dye, Christakis & Dye, 2008).
7. Requisite Action states that action plans to reform complex social systems
designed without the authentic and true engagement of those whose futures will
be inuenced by the change are bound to fail (attributed to Laouris and originally
suggested by Özbekhan, 1969).
The dialogic design principles satisfy the theoretical requirements for stakeholder
co-creation, for designing and managing collective conversations for understanding
complex shared problems and reaching consensus on action. The principles are
developed from a pragmatist orientation, consistent with constructivist or critical
realist epistemological perspectives. From a constructivist perspective, the princi-
ples afford voluntary participants the context for reaching collective awareness and
a common mental model (known in SDD as a “consensual linguistic domain”).
From a critical realist perspective, the principles enable organizers following these
methods to reliably structure and facilitate co-creation workshops with high proba-
bilities for successful outcomes.
Systemic Design Principles
To develop a working theory for systemic design, the author (Jones, 2014) formu-
lated a series of ten principles that demonstrated the correspondence between sys-
tems and design theoretical principles for social system and sociotechnical design
problems. Systemic design principles enable practitioners to develop systems design
proposals and concepts supported by compatible systems science and design con-
cepts. The prospects for value discovery (identifying high-potential situations for
shared value in social systems) and design viability (continued value and duration)
are amplied, employing the ten principles in design practices. The following brief
descriptions describe the principles, which are fully detailed in the reference:
1. Idealization is the principle of identifying an ideal state or set of conditions that
compels action towards a desirable outcome or signies the value of a future
system or practice.
2. Appreciating Complexity acknowledges the dynamic complexity of multi-
causal wicked problems and the cognitive factors involved in understanding the
relationships that indicate problem complexity.
3. Purpose Finding describes that purposes do not exist independently of observa-
tion in language, but can be determined by agreement and therefore designed or
4. Boundary Framing is dened as the principle of determining the most effective
t between a concept and its target environment.
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5. Requisite Variety in design proposes that, whether in a social system or infor-
mation system, the functional complexity of a given design must be calibrated
to and provide sufcient options for interacting with the known and potential
factors of its target environment’s complexity.
6. Feedback Coordination is a principle describing the function of identifying
critical feedback relationships (rst-n order) in social and technological sys-
tems, for coordinating the dynamic t to environmental and contextual
7. System Ordering denes the essential function of design as skilled activity, as
all information, assets, organizations, and social systems are ordered in mean-
ingful ways by human custodians. Designers dene humanly useful structures
that enable visibility and salience within complex situations.
8. Generative Emergence is a principle for selecting emergent manifestations for
design signication. Compositional emergence manifests in design activity as
an outcome of ordering or the construction of articial micro-systems for
adapting an artefact to environments. Created emergence manifests from orga-
nizing systems, which include physical connections, designed forms, organiz-
ing processes, and the synergies that emerge from among these functions.
9. Continuous Adaptation is the principle of maintaining a preferred system pur-
pose and objectives (or desiderata) throughout the life cycle of adaptation, con-
formance to environmental demands, and related system changes.
10. Self-organizing in design enables actions that increase awareness, incentives,
and social motivations to accelerate organizing behaviours.
Theory: Context Theory
The DoSM model supports the development of theory for interpreting and anticipat-
ing the function of principles. Theory articulates propositions (e.g. as a Lab function)
that might inform and validate effective practices in the Arena and Agora. Component
4 proposes a theory of context for application of design principles, which in this case
is a systems theory of the application of principles in design contexts.
Contexts can be dened in the case of systemic design as the containing bound-
aries for dened systems of interest. A dened boundary species the context for
designing functions and artefacts that t the environment within that boundary.
Most systems theories offer a model of nested containing systems that might be
adopted as context theories. Methodologically, Bertalanffy’s general systems the-
ory, Miller’s living systems theory, Jantsch’s evolutionary systems model,
Luhmann’s social systems theory, Bronfenbrenner’s bio-socioecological model, and
Wilber’s integral theory would be viable candidates to adapt as context theories for
aligning design aims to actions in an environment.
Two sets of principles apply to two boundary frames, which both operate within
different contexts, (a) the context of conversation for collective action and (b) the
context for system-level design. Both are theorized as necessary in support of req-
uisite variety of (a) stakeholders to the problem context and (b) design options to the
future environment of social/user participation. If we designate a third system
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
boundary, temporality, we might introduce principles and theory for anticipatory
design in future system contexts.
In the current prospectus, we reiterate the design domains (Fig.1) as the context
theory applicable to process, policy, service, and other systems design problems.
The four design domains represent four levels of system, distinguished by inherent
social complexity necessitated by the domains in which design decisions and trans-
formations are proposed. Technical complexity (theoretically) can be bracketed or
isolated by design for interfaces rather than assuming the designer must have tech-
nological mastery. The four levels reveal incommensurable complexity, in that com-
plexity within a higher context (e.g. social or organizational) does not correspond to
complexity in services or artefacts, and vice versa. If this is the case, expertise and
methods from one level may have minimal transfer to the others. While it is possible
for a skilled organization to maintain competencies in each domain, this remains
atypical and (excepting a small number of major design rms) this attempt can dif-
fuse the position and differentiation of a design practice.
The four domains entail design processes for the following:
D1.0Artefacts: Artefacts are objects and communications designed for
bounded purposes or that support a product or service.Complexity is manage-
able by a small design team. Systemic design principles apply to the containing
systems (contexts) for artefacts.
D2.0Products and Services: Context of value co-creation with users (includ-
ing service design, product innovation, multichannel, and user experience),
design as dening and integrating user functions into larger systems and plat-
forms. Complexity as complicatedness, manageable by full-service design team
with client organization. Systemic design principles apply to designing service
systems and interactive interfaces.
D3.0Organizational Transformation: Organizational process change for oper-
ationally closed social systems, design of work practices, strategies, and organi-
zational structures. Dynamic complexity requires a specialized design team and
full client organization participation. Systemic design and dialogic design prin-
ciples apply to process design and decision making.
D4.0Social Transformation: Complex, multi-stakeholder, open social sys-
tems: design for complex societal situations, social systems, policy making, and
community design. Social complexity requires specialized design and system
facilitators, with requisite variety of core team for stakeholder participation man-
agement. Systemic design and dialogic design principles apply to process design
and decision making.
Other publications have discussed the design domains (Jones, 2014) in more
detail, and these references will serve as additional information.
P. J o n e s
Theory: Ontological Variety inParticipation
Theoretical support of a domain of design model (DoDM) must account for stake-
holder and participant variety in co-creation, including sampling, selection, and
anticipated system participation. A general theory of participation across dialogic
and systems design would entail ontological variety or a model of committed stake-
holders that corresponds to the multiple social systems to which they belong.
A theory of requisite stakeholder variety has been developed for anticipatory
studies (Jones, 2017) as a model for participant selection in foresight strategy. In
this model, two supporting theories include the cybernetics principles of requisite
variety (Ashby, 1958) and second-order control (von Foerster, 2003). These inform
a theory of stakeholder discovery that balances selection and variety of disciplines,
perspectives, authority, diversity, and stake-ness among participants.
Undersampling stakeholders with investment in the “real” or external system
environment leads to insufcient knowledge contribution and commitment to future
outcomes. In this approach, multiple worldview perspectives and temporal prefer-
ence were integrated with a reference stakeholder selection model (the “5 I’s” from
Christakis & Bausch, 2006).
Latour’s (2013) modes of existence worldview typology is further integrated as
a social theory of requisite perspectives relevant to complex social concerns, where
many legitimate viewpoints and future stakes might be identied in stakeholder
sampling. The 15 “modes” represent articulated, orthogonal, yet overlapping posi-
tions that dene ontological perspectives from recognized institutions in modernist
societies, such as law, science, ction, technology, religion, and so on. These are
rendered as institutional beliefs or alliances that would signal and construct a stake-
holder’s perspective as representative for that institution’s commitments and norma-
tive relations. Latour’s model prescribes a process of “crossings” or value tensions
identied in the relations between ontological modes, such as a crossing of
reference (scientic worldview) and ction (essentially, imaginative arts); this
might not only entail scientic imaginaries but the adaptation of arts within scien-
tic knowledge translation or the shift in scientic values to include radically sub-
jective meanings. Stakeholders can thusly be identied within modes and crossings
that enrich and “requite” the necessary complexity within a problematic system
inquiry. The function of crossings between modes is essentially the model used in
stakeholder discovery to represent (and to reduce or absorb) variety across dimen-
sions in order to reach a larger proportion of desired stakeholder identications
associated with the problem for which requisite variety is sought.
Requisite stakeholder variety provides a reference model that classies three
modes of stakeholder identication: social diversity, design problem categories, and
worldview (ontological preference). At minimum the stakeholder sampling model
provides a checklist that exposes possible risks and blind spots in the available com-
position of stakeholders or experts. The model further provides a schema for identi-
fying value conicts between worldviews and other attributes associated with
known stakeholder interests. The requisite stakeholder variety model for stake-
holder discovery was designed to address the necessary variety in systemic design,
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
particularly for strategic foresight in social transformation projects. It has been fur-
ther developed in foresight workshops and as a reference model for anticipatory
policy research.
We can propose that careful incorporation of the modes of existence to the
stakeholder model will make a signicant difference in selecting participants with
sufcient variety to represent the broadest ranges of design options and commit-
ments to social action. The canonical analysis model for stakeholder variety had
previously addressed variety with two axes, of stakeholder “relations to the prob-
lem” and “social diversity values” such as education, age, gender, and culture. We
add the third dimension of ontological commitment (mode) and allow for crossings
of three dimensions to produce a reference for managing high-complexity sampling
across perspectives and knowledge domains.
Theory: Theory ofAction Intervention
Dialogic design and systemic design entail a wide range of approaches to activating
change in social systems. Theories of change are working hypotheses and observa-
tions that explain the transition from a current state to a desired outcome for trans-
formative change in organizations or systems. Theories of change are references to
models of practice, not predictive theories supported by social science. They have
been evolved from a concept within organizational development practices to more
well-dened social change methodologies such as developmental evaluation
(Patton, 2010) and transition design (Irwin, 2015). While these methodologies can
be employed within specic programmes, a general “theory of change” applicable
to system change would be misleading. The distinction of “theory” in change refers
to the shared mental model of change outcomes expected from actions and choices
in a planning context, the “shared idea” among participants about the occurrences
leading to change.
Theories of change are necessary tools for action planning for social system
change and are meant to be examined and adapted for particular programmes. While
the methodologies of Patton, Irwin, and Westley (Westley, Zimmerman & Patton,
2009) provide methods and models, successful case studies, and adaptations, they
are not directly appropriated within change projects or action planning.
The Patton and Irwin models correspond to systems methods (with respect to
boundary critique, critical system analysis, and social complexity). These are
system-level frameworks that developed explicit theories of change and methods for
engagement and eldwork analysis. And as most systems methods, they lack an
explicit methodology for stakeholder engagement.
Stakeholder theory appears to be underdeveloped within system change method-
ology, as there is little development to inform the practices and forms of action
expected of stakeholders in change planning. Dialogic design has evolved a practice-
based stakeholder methodology from the original theory of Hasan Özbekhan (1969),
who had rst articulated the ethical necessity of involving “the users” of system
change, the stakeholders within the social system. The direct entailment of stake-
P. J o n e s
holders in social systems design and change through committed action planning
was developed in Wareld’sInteractive Management methodology.
There are two denitive modes of intervention for action in the frameworks. For
Structured Dialogic Design, the engagement method goes far beyond co-creation as
participation into the formulation of a consensual linguistic model constructed in
dialogue participation. The ISM algorithm is used to structure super-majority votes
on relationships of problems and actions to each other, creating a high-consensus
inuence map. An inuence map (in SDD presented as a directed acyclic graph of
inuences) describes the network of leverage from deeply inuential solutions or
actions on the outcomes of interest. Similar in respect to outcome mapping, the
ISM inuence map has a much higher degree of commitment across highly mixed
groups of stakeholders with respect to worldviews and power.
Systemic design is inherently situated to design and plan interventions that shift
systems and practices to the future outcomes preferred by stakeholders. Therefore,
the stakeholder variety theory is essential to any change model adopted in the
Methodology Domain
The Methodology domain of the DoSM model represents a series of practice mod-
els developed from reective analysis of requirements in the Arena. From direct
experience with systemic design engagements in practice, the six methodological
inquiries offer opportunities for deeper development of evolving methods and to
assess their relationship to the theory base.
The following six methodology components are proposals for further practice
research within the framework.
Methodology: Roles andControls
Each stage in the systemic design domain model may require different roles and
process controls for managing process, engagements, and design outcomes. Dialogic
design identied a Dialogue Management Team consisting of ve core team roles.
Depending on methodology and the process for control, we propose the following:
Lab and Studio
Principal designer
System researcher/analyst
Arena and Agora
Engagement manager
Dialogue facilitator
Visual recorder/designer
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
External roles: Three roles developed in SDD practice might be used in systemic
Project sponsor—Sponsor organization lead with a commitment to stakehold-
ers and outcomes
Organizational broker—Direct project support within the organization to
manage the design process, relationships between the design team and orga-
nization, and inquiries
Logistics coordinator—A coordinator within the organization for process and
Methodology: Workshop Process Staging
The practice models of dialogic design strongly promote the staging of workshop
(co-laboratory) engagements in the Arena and Agora. Stages follow an ordering
based on the necessity for progressive evolution of learning and design decision
making and the process of moving from problematiques to resolutique (solutions)
and action. The following stages are typical, though not “canonical” in dialogic
design and systemic design:
Lab and Studio
1. Discovery (theory framing)
2. Learning
3. Exploration
4. Design inquiry
5. Evaluation
1. Discovery (problem framing and stakeholder nding)
2. Denition (problem structuring)
3. Design (scenario)
4. Action planning (strategy making)
1. Discovery (problem framing and nding publics)
2. Problem inquiry
3. Future co-creation
4. Movement building
The identication and labelling of design process stages is a process that creates a
consensus mental model for constructing the anticipation of engagement activities.
Many different lexical labels could refer to essentially the same set of activities,
between design process models. The labelled design process stages here signify
P. J o n e s
both well-established references in the literature (discovery, denition, design) and
several novel propositions for the Agora context, to propose a futures-inquiry pro-
cess for publics, which may have undened or undeclared agendas.
Methodology: Modes ofInquiry
Churchman’s (1971) inquiring systems provide a general basis for the modes of
inquiry across all contexts, as follows:
• Inductive
• Hypothetico-deductive
• Dialectic
• Critical, multi-perspectival
Pragmatic, synthetic, holistic
Methodologically we might clarify and add:
Peircean, abductive (formal abduction)
• Retroductive11 (retrospective chaining from future state)
• Normative (value-driven)
Churchman’s systems for inquiry remain the foundation model for identifying
logical modes for problem investigation. The systems perspective of Churchman’s
model can be extended with formal abduction and retroduction, and normative eval-
uation as inquiry.
Methodology: Modes ofDesign
Systemic design is an integration of design methods with systems theory and
approaches (Jones, 2017).
Considering the design domains construct of Design 1.0–4.0, we might explicitly
distinguish the relevant modes of design inquiry and processes considered relevant
in these domains.
1. Communications design
2. Product and service systems design
3. Organizational and social purpose design
4. Complex social systems design
Of course, it would be possible to introduce a dozen or more emerging and spe-
cialized design approaches that are constantly in formation across similar contexts.
11 Retroductive inquiry has been known for some time as backcasting and has been used recently in
social science work in the dialogic design practice, e.g. Romm, N.R. (2013). Revisiting social
dominance theory: Invoking a more retroductively-oriented approach to systemic theorizing.
Systemic Practice and Action Research, 26(2), 111–129.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
While other models of design for complex sociotechnical and social systems are
proposed in literatures and practice (e.g. translation design, transition design, regen-
erative design, design futures), these are also types of approaches that full purposes
of the four design domains. The four design domains afford a theoretical contribu-
tion of isomorphic types with differentiated purposes and objects of design specic
to the mode, and with graduated complexity at each level. The emerging purposeful
design modes support methodologies that accomplish the aims of (primarily) one of
these domains.
Methodology: Modes ofAnticipation
Modes of anticipation account for the methods employed in individual and collec-
tive reasoning about future change and system evolution, as follows:
Historical cycles/wave theory
• Normative planning
Scenario design (narrative patterning)
Envisioning (group prospection)
• Backcasting (retroduction)
• Inuence structuring
• Optionality analysis
• Emerging perspectives
Methodology: Representation Methods
There might conceivably be dozens of representations in systemic design, from for-
mulation of early-stage constructs to visualizing large-scale social systems.
Representations are nominal rather than categorical—they cannot be reduced to a
baseline set of primitive types, and they can be adapted and combined in unexpected
ways. The following list might be considered only a partial inventory of common
representations by type employed in systems design studio and arena practices:
• Systems formalisms
Systems analysis and design methods
Tables and structured text
• Matrices
Slope and curve plots
Statistical summary diagrams
Rich picture and notional system diagrams
• Concept maps
• System models
• Outcome maps
Synthesis maps and Gigamaps
Hierarchies and tree structures
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Process models and owcharts
Organizational and stakeholder diagrams
• Network diagrams
Function hierarchies and decomposition models
Activity system models
Cyclic and wave models
Application Domain
The Application components identify four contexts for co-creation in the Arena and
Agora. Two Arena contexts (sponsored, stakeholder-driven) include the co-
laboratory and strategic dialogue. Two Agora contexts include an open civic inquiry
and the (sponsored) observatorium. Note that these application contexts are co-cre-
ation practices in systemic design, methodologically informed by dialogic design.
They are applications developed in the DoSM (Lab and Studio) for hybrid models
of engagement, informed by methodology and practice from SDD engagement.
Application: Co-creation Workshop—Dialogic Design Co-laboratory (Arena)
The foundation model, from which the other workshops are derived, is the dialogic
design co-laboratory, based on Structured Dialogic Design (SDD). The canonical
method is described in Christakis and Bausch (2006), with the only major changes
to the process being the evolution of software for co-lab management and inuence
structuring (Cogniscope 3 and logosoa).
Application: Co-creation Conference—Strategic Dialogue (Arena)
Strategic dialogue is a general framework for stakeholder decision making in which
selected methods from dialogic design are employed, following the principles, to
accomplish other strategic goals that might not be enabled with a canonical SDD
Application: Civic Inquiry (Agora)
The Agora contexts are open public dialogues held as inquiries for critical issues of
interest to communities and publics. The “civic inquiry” is an open-ended applica-
tion that can be adapted to principles and methods of dialogic design to promote
co-creation approaches within a dialogue setting.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
Application: Observatorium (Agora)
The observatorium, based on Harold Lasswell’s social planetarium (Lasswell,
1959), is a means for collective envisioning of alternative future proposals, engag-
ing citizens in rational discourses to arrive at possible scenarios and options. This
methodology is being employed in Greece with the Demoscopio programme
(Kakoulaki & Christakis, 2018), which involves a series of installations and engage-
ments with towns and their citizens. Toronto’s Design with Dialogue12 programme
has evolved over this period as a social observatory and open civic engagement
process. These two, and other projects like them, provide guidance for organizers of
public democratic contexts for civic policy co-creation. In some cases, civic co-
creation provides a basis for convening the intellectual capital and early participants
for social movements.
This domain model represents a framework proposal for further application and
inquiry. We might expect to evaluate at least a complete cycle of new documented
practices across an entire large case to produce a signicant research account. To
articulate a full framework, we would assess the full set of components across
Theory, Methodology, and Applications, their support (or exceptions) for relevant
cases, and their rationale for selection. Their development would also require, by
necessity of requisite variety, co-creation by practising members of the discourse
Discussion andRecommendations
Following a study from practice-based design research, a model and proposal are
advanced to resolve well-known concerns in co-creation and social design prac-
tices. The primary social purpose of the study is to support a theory of efcacy for
multi-stakeholder collaboration for complex design problems, from the early-stage
ideation to team and stakeholder decisions and social change outcomes. Building on
the reference model of Wareld’s Domain of Science Model, a process model for
systemic design theory and practice is dened that should produce signicant col-
lective stakeholder efcacy within a stage of design or action.
The major practice issue addressed is that of anticipating and advising effective
collective decision practices for projects with stakeholders of mixed power and
12 Design with Dialogue is a monthly open dialogue series at OCAD University in Toronto, which
holds a continuous learning community for organizational and social transformation through
design facilitation of dialogic practices. Hosted as a public agora since 2008, the online site is
found at
P. J o n e s
culture. Our societies continually demonstrate the inability to gain agreement for
policy and planning guidance for complex societal problems. The dialogic design
practice was developed for dialogic methodologies to enable mixed stakeholders to
observe a rigorous design-decision process. Design is identied here as an inte-
grated activity of the dialogic process, with the co-design of future options and
action scenarios. Systemic design is a design-led practice that integrates dialogue in
co-creation for sensemaking and decision making, as necessary for understanding
system perspectives across stakeholder worldviews, and argue design solutions and
propose joint actions. They are highly complementary, with nearly identical values
and principles in most cases, but with very different practices, methods, and genres
of design.
Another major issue addressed by the framework study is its ability to confront
the continuing inability in modern society to organize and produce democratic,
citizen- informed change in critical complex problems. We live in a time of an
oppressive, socialized incapacity of institutional cultures to motivate action beyond
extrapolations of false progress. Whether dealing with urbanization, surveillance
and security systems, climate and environmental change, corporate economic hege-
mony, or unresponsive political systems, the embedded bureaucracies of corporate
and government power have been sustained by decades of dysfunctional decision
practices. Design thinking and conventional genres of design (e.g. communications
and service design) have demonstrated no theory of change to democratic power or
shared decision making and, in fact, have often been appropriated and directed by
the benign fronts of invested power.
Dialogic and systemic design practices are not merely problem-solving pro-
cesses employed for complex design problems within organizations sharing com-
mon purposes. Systemic design is uniquely efcacious in addressing root causes in
complex problem systems and in reaching consensus on high-leverage design
options and change scenarios. Further benecial outcomes will result when using
the framework as guidance to employ co-creation methods in various contexts with
more practitioners.
Co-creation and creative engagement methods have proliferated in recent years,
following an increasing demand for design co-creation and co-design in corporate
and public sectors. A wide variety of design-trained practitioners (industrial, user
experience, strategic, service, and various interdisciplinary designers) and organiza-
tions trained in design thinking have socialized creative approaches to group work
and problem resolution. However, the major design disciplines have not taken the
intellectual lead to study their preferred approaches to co-creation or creative stake-
holder engagement—nearly all work found in the grey literature and online shows
up as practice methods from design rms or proprietary design rm “methodolo-
gies.” Many practices employ a false-canonical approach to co-creation, by publish-
ing or prompting bespoke process models or as bodies of local knowledge available
to certied practitioners.
Among even advanced practitioners, the prevalent modes of co-creation com-
monly mix a design thinking methodology with granular creative methods, such as
the techniques in IDEO’s human-centred design, large group interventions such as
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
Open Space, and the ubiquitous brainstorming with sticky notes. Research-
supported co-creation methods such as Structured Dialogic Design, Team Syntegrity,
and Simplexity (Basadur, Basadur, & Licina, 2013) are rigorous, require training to
facilitate well, and are (therefore) fairly uncommon in design practice. While cer-
tainly not harmful, the creative deployment of such modes of co-creation amounts
to craft practice, often wholly dependent on facilitation skill.
A recent development in the systemic design literature is found with the HEC
model of design facilitation (Aguirre, Agudelo, & Romm, 2017), developed from
observations in the arena of practice. Their methodology proposes a core model for
formation of multi-stakeholder design engagements, focusing on facilitation prac-
tices and the structuring of co-creation activities. Three process dimensions of co-
creation are dened for designing events for participation (genre and method),
intention (purpose and outcome design), and function (structures for usability and
feasibility across process goals). Three modes of event participation are proposed to
calibrate the workshop genre and experience for particular participants: human-
centred perspective, experiential, and creative modes. These can be tuned to contrib-
ute more or less of each, to customize a type of co-creation event with relatively
high, medium, or lower contributions of each mode. This model could also be used
to measure differences between other cases for assessment of collaborative efcacy,
with relatively more or less creativity, participation, or experience. Facilitation
models and genres of co-creation (styles associated with cultural expectations) offer
a fruitful area for future development. Such a facilitation methodology might be
compatible with the contexts of a co-creation framework, suggesting event- level
design facilitation techniques consistent with any engagement adopting principles
and methods in the framework.
Evaluating Process Models
There are few standard or well-documented practices supported by research evi-
dence that can validate comparative efcacy among co-creation modalities. In the
absence of consensus or standards, we can move ahead with our craft practices
shaped by our training and experience with clients, or we can develop guidelines
from studying methodology and observing years of successful practices. In this (lat-
ter) case, we have further developed sets of principles that other practitioners might
employ for their methods and participatory co-creation practices.
If there are no grounds for comparative selection for given types of problems or
stakeholders, we cannot determine whether another method would have been supe-
rior to a selected method (after having implemented a given practice). We cannot
determine in advance the collaborative efcacy of a given method with a particular
group of stakeholder participants. We would only have practitioner experience to
determine whether the choice of, for example, a structured Team Syntegrity
(Leonard, 1996) would produce superior intermediate outcomes and ultimate
change compared to the unstructured Open Space (Owen, 1987) for a given context.
P. J o n e s
In fact, this is also the case with design methodologies (even if not so for research
methods, which can be forecasted to have better or worse t or contribution in types
of projects). There is no perfect design process. When we choose a suite of methods
and techniques for design process, we employ heuristics from experience, as well as
the techniques perfected by the design team and the expectations of a client or spon-
sor for certain outcomes.
In contexts for co-creation we must address a complex mix of design and method
selection factors, based on rationale and conditions that we have only touched upon
in this framework study. Even so, the selection of co-creation method often remains
entirely a matter decided by sponsors and a design team and their advisors. Typically
an expert facilitator on the team will recommend the method for which they are
known as expert. We nd only a small number of other frameworks or “meta-
methodologies” dened for purposes similar to contexts of co-creation. Design
toolkits are typically practitioner guidelines, such as the IDEO Design Kit13, which
are methods and consensus practices associated with general design thinking
approaches. Among change practices, Liberating Structures14 is a collection of
prior, well-established methods for facilitation purposes loosely organized in a
practitioner framework. Practitioner frameworks rarely support the method choices
or patterns with research guidance or references. In practice, most practitioners
demonstrate clear preferences and strengths in certain methodologies and styles of
practice. Experience with methods may be more of a determining factor in their
choice than abstract selection rules.
In systems practices we nd a tradition of analytical frameworks for integrating
and selecting methods for appropriate problem types. In systemic research for social
systems, Midgley etal. (2013) proposed a framework for evaluating efcacy of
problem structuring methods used in systems studies and outcomes. The framework
distinguishes evaluation constructs for context, purpose, methods, and outcomes,
which could be a compatible set of evaluative categories for the DoSM.Mingers
and Rosenhead (2004) evaluated a wide range of multimethodology studies to pro-
pose a framework for selection and integration of multiple problem structuring
methods for a context. Midgley etal. (2013) developed an evaluation model com-
patible with Mingers, with criteria for assessing the contribution of problem struc-
turing methods to complex problem contexts. These are benecial contributions to
methods, evaluation, and theory from classical systems methods, problem structur-
ing studies, soft systems, and operational research. These approaches seem entirely
applicable to the Design 3.0 and 4.0 domains as complex multi-stakeholder design
contexts. Users of this framework might draw directly on these foundations in the
systems disciplines for guidance in multimethodology, problematizing, and select-
ing and assessing rigorous group methods.
13 Design Kit from provides a set of handbooks, a website, and
resources for learning basic designing practices for human-centred design.
14 See Liberating Structures: Lipmanowicz, H., & McCandless, K. (2014). The surprising power of
liberating structures: Simple rules to unleash a culture of innovation. Seattle, WA: Liberating
Structures Press.
Contexts ofCo-creation: Designing withSystem Stakeholders
The chapter presents the ndings from an extended period of observations and
action research practices that inform a new framework for co-creation practices in
systemic design, based on established work in the systems sciences. The framework
provides a means of integrating and bridging systems theory-based principles,
structured dialogue and group dynamics, and design methodology. This aims to
provide a sufcient (requisite) methodology for stakeholder design for social com-
plexity, enabling its users to dene interventions and options for social design prob-
lem resolution.
The central purpose of the study is to introduce processes known to improve col-
laborative efcacy for design and decision making in multi-stakeholder co-creation.
The framework will fail to accomplish these aims if not adopted in whole or part as a
reference model or guideline for design practice. Another aim of the study is to pro-
pose and continue the development of a practice theory for systemic design, which
might be adopted for convening practices and the management of large systems
change programmes involving multiple venues and communities of participants.
Co-creation as a participatory group process has been developed effectively to
date as a proprietary and craft practice within communities of practice. When we
take this position, supported by the literature and eld observations, the evolution of
co-creation appears similar to other practice-led design methodologies in wide use,
but unreported in scholarly studies. This publication aims to redress that gap in the
progression of social science for complex design.
Design studies are not typically investigated as social science research, except
for organizational studies of corporate design practices, creative teamwork, and
similar boundary practices. However, design co-creation has grown to become a
practice norm in many organizational settings and carries embedded values and
social interactions that are accepted as productive or effective to design outcomes.
We actually know very little about the social effects and inuences of design values
in co-creation, as researchers have a quite limited ability to instrument and observe
changes in social practices resulting from design practice. Co-creation ought to be
studied as a sociotechnical intervention, as a social technology with informal and
canonical forms, explicit and tacit normative values, and communities of practice.
Compared to previous social studies of enabling technologies, such as computer-
supported cooperative work (CSCW) and learning (CSCL), we have not assessed
the social functions of co-creation as a sociotechnical system of planning, decision
making, and design. The current work is a proposal to formulate better models and
categories for observation of meaningful operations across the many forms of col-
laborative design practice.
Finally, the concept of collaborative efcacy in multi-stakeholder participation is
a central idea that might be observed and measured through criteria such as those
developed in the framework proposition. For co-creation to be determined as “sys-
temic” however, some manner of criteria and evaluations might be considered that
could demonstrate how intended system-level outcomes can be achieved produc-
P. J o n e s
tively. A systemic design methodology ought to also foresee and resolve problem-
atic organizational, social, and psychological constants affecting group sensemaking.
Improving collaborative efcacy might serve as a motivating purpose for further
social research into the activities and functions of co-creation in organizational and
design contexts.
Acknowledgements I am grateful to Alexander Christakis and Thomas Flanagan for their
reviews, challenging questions, and commentaries that informed and contributed to this article. As
with any project larger than a single paper, the ideas in this study will continue in practice and in
future discourse. I also express my appreciation for insights contributed in exchanges with Kevin
Dye, Jeff Diedrich, and Kirk Weigand.
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P. J o n e s
... Fast-paced designerly approaches are rooted in goals and evaluation criteria of economic success (Fuad-Luke, 2002) or of high productivity and return on participation (Jones, 2018). This pace emerges, amongst other reasons, due to a strong emphasis on material products and deliverables, due to a culture of timeboxed business agreements and due to a sense of time dictated by technological innovation cycles (Fuad-Luke, 2002). ...
... It focuses on creating propensity for rapid action by condensing the traditional design process into a five-day format of: Understand, diverge, converge, prototype and test (Banfield, Lombardo, & Wax, 2015). In practice, this rapidness can reach the extent to which the design sprints merely involve available organizational participants and typically go ahead without user research or field studies (Jones, 2018). Despite its product-oriented roots, the sprint method has been applied to systemic social innovation as well. ...
... For in this domain, such pace-related tradeoffs percolate to crucial tradeoffs regarding e.g. having enough scope for challenge reframing, building diverse stakeholder networks, preventing the push for accomplishments from enabling groupthink and constructing strong, long-term systemic interventions (Jones, 2018). It is, therefore, important to critically assess reliance on methods-and their associated paces and timelines-as they can undermine systemic design by reducing it to highly constrained procedures that do not enable true innovation (Ryan, 2014). ...
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Designerly approaches have long been appropriated for systems thinking and design. This appropriation brings with it tensions regarding the pace at which design is conducted. It is crucial to unveil and reflect on these tensions, particularly within a social innovation context. This is due to social innovation’s unique complexities regarding stakeholder networks, sociopolitical influences and change management. This position paper discusses how these tensions become apparent at the two ends of the pace spectrum of doing systemic design. It examines the translation of these pace tensions to tradeoffs; both at the principles level (e.g. stakeholder engagement, project scoping and long-term commitment) and at the practices level (e.g. network building, prototyping’s role and room for reframing). By doing so, this paper takes an initial, exploratory step towards explicating tensions regarding the pace of conducting systemic design for social innovation. It aims to spark critical discourse around such implicit and explicit pace tensions, with the intention to enable better resolution of these tensions in practice.
... To prevent this in the future, a new approach, called cocreation, could be used. This co-creation approach facilitates translating the knowledge gained from research into health care and vice versa [74][75][76]. During co-creation, multiple stakeholders including the end-users, in this case, the potential prosthesis users themselves, collaborate on a prosthetic research study on each level (i.e., proposal, experiment, analysis, dissemination) [75]. ...
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Background Multi-grip myoelectric hand prostheses (MHPs), with five movable and jointed fingers, have been developed to increase functionality. However, literature comparing MHPs with standard myoelectric hand prostheses (SHPs) is limited and inconclusive. To establish whether MHPs increase functionality, we compared MHPs with SHPs on all categories of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health-model (ICF-model). Methods MHP users (N = 14, 64.3% male, mean age = 48.6 years) performed physical measurements (i.e., Refined Clothespin Relocation Test (RCRT), Tray-test, Box and Blocks Test, Southampton Hand Assessment Procedure) with their MHP and an SHP to compare the joint angle coordination and functionality related to the ICF-categories ‘Body Function’ and ‘Activities’ (within-group comparisons). SHP users (N = 19, 68.4% male, mean age = 58.1 years) and MHP users completed questionnaires/scales (i.e., Orthotics and Prosthetics Users’ Survey—The Upper Extremity Functional Status Survey /OPUS–UEFS, Trinity Amputation and Prosthesis Experience Scales for upper extremity/TAPES-Upper, Research and Development-36/RAND-36, EQ-5D-5L, visual analogue scale/VAS, the Dutch version of the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive technology/D-Quest, patient-reported outcome measure to assess the preferred usage features of upper limb prostheses/PUF-ULP) to compare user experiences and quality of life in the ICF-categories ‘Activities’, ‘Participation’, and ‘Environmental Factors’ (between-group comparisons). Results ‘Body Function’ and ‘Activities’: nearly all users of MHPs had similar joint angle coordination patterns with an MHP as when they used an SHP. The RCRT in the upward direction was performed slower in the MHP condition compared to the SHP condition. No other differences in functionality were found. ‘Participation’: MHP users had a lower EQ-5D-5L utility score; experienced more pain or limitations due to pain (i.e., measured with the RAND-36). ‘Environmental Factors’: MHPs scored better than SHPs on the VAS-item holding/shaking hands. The SHP scored better than the MHP on five VAS-items (i.e., noise, grip force, vulnerability, putting clothes on, physical effort to control) and the PUF-ULP. Conclusion MHPs did not show relevant differences in outcomes compared to SHPs on any of the ICF-categories. This underlines the importance of carefully considering whether the MHP is the most suitable option for an individual taking into account the additional costs of MHPs.
... However, advanced interactive consultation procedures induced and supported inter alia by digital technology are left out of consideration, while they may play a pivotal role in modern urban planning, including energy planning. Modern citizen science approaches in an e-society are based on a more direct and cocreational role of citizens (see, e.g., [1,50,51]). ...
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Climate change, energy transition needs and the current energy crisis have prompted cities to implement far-reaching changes in public energy supply. The present paper seeks to map out the conditions for sustainable energy provision and use, with a particular view to the role of citizens in a quadruple helix context. Citizen participation is often seen as a sine qua non for a successful local or district energy policy in an urban area but needs due scientific and digital support based on evidence-based knowledge (using proper user-oriented techniques such as Q-analysis). The paper sets out to explore the citizen engagement and knowledge base for drastic energy transitions in the city based on the newly developed “diabolo” model, in which in particular digital tools (e.g., dashboards, digital twins) are proposed as useful tools for the interface between citizens and municipal policy. The approach adopted in this paper is empirically illustrated for local energy policy in the city of Rotterdam.
... Identifying the critical components of the co-creation, determining the relationship between them, and architecting an operating system will lead to a configuration of potentially appropriate elements and their reinforcement (Lusch and Nambisan, 2015). An effective co-creation system improves and develops organizational collaboration and group outcomes, which depends on considering the principles of facilitating participation, such as structured programs like workshops and selforganizing engaging mode (Jones, 2018). Thus, knowing how to design and implement a system that creates a suitable corporate-startup co-creation space is considered one of the key topics for decision-making and taking appropriate actions for co-creation. ...
This paper focuses on the issue of digital tech-enabled corporations that co-create an innovative digital-output with startups; in this process, they require knowledge for decision-making known as innovation intelligence to build a co-creation space by implementing and fortifying a collective intelligence. In this regard, this research introduces co-creation realization, co-creation pivoting, and co-creator relationship management as three key innovation intelligence topics (KITs). Then, it addresses the dynamic capabilities to create indispensable knowledge for decision-making in these three topics through empirical insight from a multi-case study in four tech-enabled corporations in the Iranian entrepreneurial e-commerce ecosystem. The results indicate two plannable and unplannable categories as organizational and group level capabilities for each recognized KITs, respectively. The proposed innovation intelligence framework represents how these capabilities are interrelated and the effect of strengthening and weakening them on the co-creation process by affecting collective intelligence. The results can provide insight to tech-enabled corporations in employing innovation intelligence to overcome a dipole between corporations and startups, which results in managing the co-creation process effectively. Also, it contributes to constantly filling the dynamic innovation gap between the expectations of innovation co-creation and actual achievements among managers during the co-creation process.
... Some types of relations are cooperative and some are competitive, but in the context of complexity, interactions between actors are more contradictory [5,[10][11][12][13]. Such complexity is partly associated with the subject dependence of social systems and partly with the plurality of world views [1,14]. For example, when there are differences in values, people strive to use their own visions, and this increases the risk of conflict and disagreement between people [7,15,16]. ...
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Controversies are an inseparable part of social systems which, if constructed properly, can create a unique condition for higher-order learning. In addition, design inquiry, as a process of thought and planning, is also a constructive process. This provokes the question of how to construct controversies from a designerly perspective in order to steer higher-order learning. This paper presents a theoretical contribution to the field of social system design by providing the first insights into design intervention to facilitate a network of allied construction. Through a systematic review of the concept of conflict and disagreement, the link between controversies and knowledge transmission is examined in order to highlight the benefit of controversies in a constructive way. Next to that, the essential steps for constructing a network of allies are proposed. These steps are compared with specific aspects of design in order to unfold the advantages of design for network construction. Finally, the paper wraps up with concluding remarks about the necessity of having a bridging step from theory to action in order to facilitate the construction of controversies in a real-life context.
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Humans live in multiple social service systems. These social service systems are composed of multiple levels of services and service systems. Influenced by various systemic factors and system interconnections, designers face more complex systemic challenges and uncertain future challenges when dealing with these service issues. Therefore, to better deal with the systemic and future issues embedded in services, this paper explores the relationships between systemic and speculative approaches and service design; and also discusses how designers need to evolve their design capabilities to better adapt to complex systemic challenges and uncertain future challenges. This paper proposes the synthesis that systemic and speculative approaches, with their characteristics of systemic thinking, long-term perspective, and critical/reflective thinking, can cut into the service design process and help service designers to deal with more systemic and future-related problems through the application of relevant thinking and methods. Through literature review, the paper clarifies the relationships and possibilities between speculative and systemic approaches and service design, identifying shared concerns, complementary contributions, and gaps that need to be considered. 2 Then proposes an extension of systemic design and the speculative approach into the service design process. Besides, through interviews with five design school's service design program leaders and comparing the programs, the paper also proposes five design capabilities that service designers should better evolve further.
Health.AI ist ein intelligenter Transferprozess, der bislang getrennte Forschungs- und Anwendungs dynamiken im Sinne eines ganzheitlichen Gesundheitsbegriffs miteinander verbindet. Das regionale Innovationsnetzwerk (Schwerpunkt Saar) ist forschungsbasiert, anwendungsorientiert und versteht Gesundheit nicht als Schwerpunkt einer einzelnen Branche, sondern als übergreifendes Anliegen, das Akteure und Ansätze aus vielen Bereichen der Gesellschaft einbezieht. Aufgrund des hohen Abstraktionsgrades von KI-Technologien strebt Health.AI gemeinsam mit ExpertInnen eine Konkretisierung der technischen Gestaltungsmöglichkeiten innerhalb des Innovationsfeldes an, um auch neuen und unerfahrenen InnovationsakteurInnen aus Zivilgesellschaft, öffentlicher Verwaltung und KMU mit aktuell nur mittelbaren Bezug zum Innovationsfeld Zugang zu diesem potenziellen Innovationsgeschehen zu ermöglichen und so die Regionalentwicklung zu unterstützen. Der Beitrag stellt die Vision des Netzwerks stellvertretend für das Health.AI-Team vor.
Sustainability‐related developments become a differentiating factor in development processes. An area with a strong focus on sustainability‐related issues is packaging. In current packaging development processes, stakeholders focus on solving sustainability issues within their own boundaries. However, the complexities surrounding circular packaging can only be overcome by transdisciplinary collaboration. ‘Traditional’ collaboration shows to be incapable of overcoming packaging‐specific complexities. Therefore, we launch Packalicious, a research initiative aiming to establish transdisciplinary innovation as a collaborative learning ecosystem. In the initial research phase, a core stakeholder group developed the framework in which Packalicious operates. In the second (current) phase, the developed Packalicious framework is tested and improved. This design iteration builds on a transdisciplinary group‐based case study, where real‐life packaging challenges are tackled by diverse stakeholders. In this paper, we define and measure the efficacy of collaborative learning within Packalicious by means of three innovation indicators. The first results indicate that the approach yields more diverse solutions, and a positive connotation with on‐the‐spot transdisciplinary collaboration. However, it also exposes the differences in discipline‐related language and jargon. This paper contributes to academic insights by the establishment of a self‐sustaining transdisciplinary learning ecosystem, and the ways in which this bridges gaps between disciplines and stakeholders.
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Design and research are two fields of knowledge that each has its traditions, methods, standards and practices. These two worlds appear to be quite separate, with researchers investigating what exists, and designers visualising what could be. This book builds a bridge between both worlds by showing how design and research can be integrated to develop a new field of knowledge. Applied Design Research: A Mosaic of 22 Examples, Experiences and Interpretations Focussing on Bridging the Gap between Practice and Academics contains 22 inspiring reflections that demonstrate how the unique qualities of research (aimed at studdying the present) and design (aimed at developing the future) can be combined. This book shows that the transdisciplinary approach is applicable in a multitude of sectors, ranging from healthcare, urban planning, circular economy, and the food industry. Arranged in five parts, the book offers a range of illustrative examples, experiences, methods, and interpretations. Together they make up the characteristic of a mosaic, each piece contributing a part of the complete picture, and all pieces together offering a multi-facted perspective of what applied design research is, how it is implemented and what the reader can expect from it. This book with its bearings in practice can enthuse early-stage researchers with the diversity of its examples, while more senior design researchers may recognize themselves in the depth of the experiences described and be inspired by them.
The phenomenon of situational complexity emerges when groups of stakeholders are engaged in addressing wicked problems and/or designing social systems, such as education programs, health plans, transportation networks, etc. World-wide applications of the methodology of Structured Dialogic Design (SDD), with people from all walks of life, have accumulated evidence for the conceptualization of three distinct and overlapping components of situational complexity. These are: (a) objective, which is observer-independent because of its universality, (b) subjective, which is observer-dependent, and (c) intersubjective, which is observer-interdependent. We identify and investigate two critical issues inhibiting the launching of an effective assault on situational complexity: (a) how can we assault the intersubjective component by means of stakeholder inclusion, and (b) how can we adopt and implement inclusive deliberative democracy. Empirical evidence from applications of SDD, indicates that these two issues operate as a vicious cycle. The vicious cycle is responsible for the escalation of the “Global Problematique” as defined in the Club of Rome prospectus, namely of a system of strongly interacting problems, such as climate change, inequities in education, biodiversity reduction, and many more. We employ the Logosofia platform of SDD to simulate the design of a strategy for escaping “the vicious cycle Labyrinth.” We argue that extensive applications of SDD in the educational arena, will enable young and old adults to become co-owners of our Problematique, and co-creators of a strategy for escaping the Labyrinth. As an exemplary application, we present a case study of an assault on the situational complexity emerging from the engagement of deaf and hard of hearing stakeholders in designing an educational program for their school in the state of Michigan, USA.
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Designers increasingly find themselves facilitating large-scale design events. Yet few have explored design facilitation as an emerging practice. This article examines the design facilitation practices used in two Norwegian case studies of multi-stakeholder events. We focus on the contextually designed tools designers create to help them facilitate. We then explore some critical dimensions of design facilitation. When used as visual overlays, facilitators’ explicit knowledge of these dimensions can improve their capacity to analyze, evaluate, and plan how to design and use contextual tools during design events. By plotting how designers use facilitation tools sequentially during events, we render the flow of design facilitation practice visible and accessible. We suggest that an explicit awareness of these dimensions and flows can enable designers to build more inclusive and inspiring tools, orchestrate the flow of long-term participatory processes more deliberately, and better equip participants to work with complex systemic change.
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The recent development of systemic design as a research-based practice draws on long-held precedents in the system sciences toward representation of complex social and enterprise systems. A precedent article (Jones, 2014) established an axiomatic and epistemological basis for complementary principles shared between design reasoning and systems theory. The current paper proposes an initial basis for shared methods (techne) and action practice (phronesis). Systemic design is concerned with higher-order socially-organized systems that encompass multiple subsystems in a complex policy, organizational or product-service context. As a design practice, it is distinguished from user-oriented or industrial design in its direct relationship to systems theory and explicit adoption of social system design tenets. By integrating systems thinking and its methods, systemic design brings human-centered design to complex, multi-stakeholder service systems as in industrial networks, transportation, medicine and healthcare. It adapts from known design competencies - form and process reasoning, social and generative research methods, and sketching and visualization practices - to describe, map, propose and reconfigure complex services and systems. Design research methods provide means for validated qualitative inquiry into the human behaviors, organizational processes, and systemic relationships of services and artifacts in a social system. By expressing the shared principles by which systemic and design practices are understood and coordinated, design and design research methods might be effectively applied in large-scale social systems.
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This paper explores the relationship between Systems and Design Thinking. It specifically looks into the role of Design in Systems Thinking and how looking at the world through a systems lens influences Design. Our intention is to show the critical concepts developed in the Systems and Design Thinking fields, their underlying assumptions, and the ways in which they can be integrated as a cohesive conceptual framework. While there are many important distinctions that must be considered to understand the similarities and differences of these concepts, gaining a complete understanding of these factors is more than can be covered in this paper. Nevertheless, the most critical classifying variable used to distinguish these concepts will be discussed in order to make their integration possible. This variable, the recognition of purposeful behavior, will be used to develop a conceptual vision for how a combined approach can be used to research, plan, design and manage social systems…Systems in which people play the principle role.
For the emergence of a Demosensual [R]evolutionary Eutopia in the twenty-first century, we ought to transcend the totalitarian, elitist approaches of political, financial, and societal policies and the obsolete social design methods, with innovative democratic practices, that will enable citizens from all walks of life, in participating in meaningful, authentic, demosensual dialogue. This chapter is inspired by the foundation for a locally based, but globally connected capability that transcends the conventional approach of Systems Science and marks the emergence of a new epoch for engaging stakeholders in social design practices. Demoscopio Center of the Science of Dialogic Design, Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been officially approved and adopted by the City Council of the Municipality of Heraklion, which is the capital of the Greek island of Crete, and a historical and culturally sensitive center, since the Minoan era. It is the culmination of 50 years of work of visionary systems thinkers, such as Harold Lasswell, Hasan Ozbekhan, John N. Warfield, and Alexander N. Christakis. Demoscopio is the contemporary reenactment of the Ancient Athenian Agora of the fifth-century B.C, with advanced technological and methodological means. It represents an innovative way to talk the walk, and walk the talk! It is the [r]evolutionary scientific implementation of the complementarity among the “Three Phases of Science” for fostering cooperation, enhancing communication, and activating social networking among citizens, innovators, and entrepreneurs. It offers the opportunity for co-designing resolutions for complex issues, through evolutionary learning and applications of the Science of Dialogic Design. It is the innovation for innovations, entrepreneurial development, democratic eutopia, for thinking globally, [inter]acting locally and making an impact glocally.
Appreciative Inquiry Handbook explains in-depth what AI is and how it works, and includes stories of AI interventions and classic articles, sample project plans, interview guidelines, participant worksheets, a list of resources, a glossary of terms, and more.