1st Edition

Co-design and Social Innovation Connections, Tensions and Opportunities

By Garth Britton Copyright 2017
    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    186 Pages
    by Routledge

    Although co-design has been practised in new service and product development for some years, it has only recently begun to appear in the burgeoning field of social innovation. It appears to be well-attuned to this new context, offering as it does an open-ended relational process to generate novel solutions to problems whose very definition seems to escape more conventional approaches. However, even less research attention has been paid to co-design than to social innovation.

    This book explores the potential of co-design as a social innovation process. It reviews the diverse theoretical and disciplinary foundations on which co-design is based. It proposes a framework for understanding co-design as a cohesive practice across the extremely broad scope of its potential applications. It explores appropriate approaches to governance and evaluation of co-design initiatives and outlines the key issues and limitations on its use. Although it is intended to provide a robust theoretical basis for researching co-design initiatives, it will also be of interest to anyone who is contemplating putting co-design into practice.

    Part 1: Social Innovation and Co-design – mapping the territory

    1. Social Innovation as Context

    1.1 The stories of social innovation

    1.2 Tensions

    2. Co-design as Innovation

    2.1 User as subject and user as partner

    2.2 Dimensions of co-design

    2.3 Connecting co-design and social innovation

    3. Taking Co-design Seriously

    3.1 The challenge

    Part 2: An Integrating Proposition

    4. Actors and Structure

    4.1 Actor-network theory

    4.2 The question of structure and constraint

    4.3 Machiavelli and Prometheus

    5. Reflexivity and Evaluation

    5.1 Applying theories of change

    5.2 Mutual learning

    6. Impact, Governance and Ethics

    6.1 Making an impact

    6.2 From project to framework

    6.3 The ambiguous role of the designer

    Part 3: Implications and Questions

    7. Organizations and Networks

    7.1 The Community of practice

    8 A Social Innovation Community?

    8.1 Collective Impact

    8.2 The social innovation community: researchers and practitioners together?


    Dr Garth Britton is Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the University of Queensland, Australia.