Co-creation Processes for Sustainable Solutions

By:
Ir. Simone J.F.M. Maase
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Society is transforming into an ever more complex social network. This means that problem solving and the nurturing of change in society is becoming more difficult. Recent experiences in the field of sustainable development have shown that top-down governance does bring some incremental improvements, but that these old ways of working don’t solve the problem to the necessary level. The question arises how to then initiate real changes, and how to manage the transformation of our network society into a more sustainable one. However, the cases presented in this paper bear witness to the existence of the creative potential of individuals and communities to create sustainable solutions. These local, bottom-up initiatives can function as a source of inspiration for the transformation of society in a more sustainable direction.

The cases are a result of the EMUDE programme of activities, funded by the European Commission 6th Framework Programme. This programme involved the gathering and evaluation of bottom-up initiatives in society. Students of eight European design schools gathered 112 promising cases; bottom-up initiatives within local communities representing sustainable solutions. 72 of these promising cases were described in-depth, using a pre-defined format. In this format problem background, solution, system actors, solution elements and technologies, revenues and costs, and the solution’s development phase are described.

The cases described in this paper are all local communities’ initiatives. Most cases represent complex networks of various actors creating sustainable solutions for everyday problems. In all these cases, co-creation processes and methods are being used in an implicit manner.

In this paper a number of cases will be presented and analyzed, focusing on the co-creation methods and tools applied. We will present ideas for the further development of these methods and tools. A more thorough understanding of the initiation, development and maintenance of such bottom up initiatives can help governments, and local authorities in the transformational process towards a more sustainable society.

Ir. Simone J.F.M. Maase works as an assistant professor at the department of Industrial Design at the Eindhoven University of Technology, the Netherlands. She graduated at the Delft University of Technology at the department of industrial design engineering. Since then she gained experience working as designer within companies, and design offices. Her interest in sustainable solutions grew meanwhile. In 2004 she got involved in the Emerging User Demands project both as researcher and coordinator of the Eindhoven department. Research subjects are: social innovation, co-creation processes and methods and socio-cultural factors for the development of sustainable solutions. Contact: s.j.f.m.maase@tue.nl

Dr. Ir. Kees Dorst studied Industrial Design Engineering at Delft University of Technology, and Philosophy at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. He has worked as a product designer, consultant and as a design researcher. Currently he is associate professor in Design Studies at the department of Industrial Design at Eindhoven University of Technology, editor of the major Dutch design magazine Items, and design consultant to the Dutch government. He has written numerous articles and four books (most recently, the textbook ‘Understanding Design’).


Keywords: Sustainable Solutions, Community, Co-creation, Bottom-up Initiatives, Methods and Tools
Stream: Social Sustainability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Exploring the (co-)creation of Sustainable Solutions


Ir. Simone J.F.M. Maase

Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology
Netherlands


Ref: S06P0248