It’s time to start treating co-design as an opportunity

I read with alarm the comment ‘Watch out: co-design is as big a threat as free pitching’ (DW 17 July).

Co-design is not about getting members of the public to do designers’ jobs, it’s about drawing stakeholders into a design process facilitated by designers.

It’s about mitigating risk, improving success, generating buy-in and ownership, and ensuring that the design delivers real solutions.

What Lynda Relph-Knight described – inviting members of the public to make design suggestions – is not co-design; it’s a competition in all its Blue Peter-ish glory. And yes, that’s a slippery slope to free-pitching, but don’t drag a noble concept into the mud with it.

Co-design is not a threat to designers, but an opportunity. It’s a tool and a process that delivers fantastic results from social innovation through to brand-strategy and beyond.

We need to understand what it is and support it.

Oliver King, Co-founder and director, Engine, London SE1

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