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
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?
Over the last decades, in parallel to major changes towards privatization in the welfare regimes of advanced industrialized countries, social innovation, social enterprise and social entrepreneurship have gradually become "à la mode". They are interpreted in policy documents in market-economic terms, making social enterprises a valuable partner for policy makers looking for innovative ways of addressing social and societal problems, among which bringing the excluded back into society and increasing social cohesion. However, balancing active citizenship and empowerment, on the one hand, and market-based social service delivery and innovation in a sustainable manner, on the other, represents a daunting challenge.
In this context, social innovation is conceived as creative solutions to existing wicked social problems, at the level of both concrete outcome and process; and social enterprises are heralded as vehicles for such societal improvement. However, beyond the superficial approaches to social innovation, its relationship with social enterprises and social entrepreneurship remains to be better understood and systematized. Therefore, the series invites contributions that are committed to understanding the complexity of these transformations by engaging in new dialogues within and among all regions of the world, each with its specific historical, cultural, social and political contexts, as well as among disciplines, as these evolutions must be tackled in their multi-dimensional nature.