Ruth Sims - Co-design to generate innovative ideas


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This talk will discuss a research project undertaken to investigate whether co-design involving end-users (in this case people commuting to and from work) generates more ideas, and more innovative and novel ideas, than email participation only. The work concerned generating ideas to reduce single occupancy car travel on the commute to and from the university campus. Involving people in focus groups, interviews as well as questionnaires was more time-consuming and labour-intensive, but resulted in greater completion of the process and more innovative solutions being generated. Participants involved in the co-design reported finding it very interesting and informative to learn about each other’s commutes, and more importantly, the reasons why people made the commuting decisions that they did.

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  • Loughborough University staff survey included questions on commuting to and from work - Single occupancy car journeys the main mode of travel for staff living more than 1 mile away. Wanted to look at generation of ideas to reduce single occupancy car commute to and from work – in this case Loughborough University campus Work conducted as part of Ideas in Transit project funded by UK govt (EPSRC, TSB, DfT) work carried out by Tracy and Val and myself.
  • What is a travel plan…..service and policy decisions aimed at reducing emissions from vehicles whilst still promoting economic growth Move in recent years towards user involvement in transport decision making, but tends to be more passive – asking people to agree or disagree with pre-established plans and priorities or passive measures such as questionnaires, focus groups, consultation exercises. Tend to favour identifying and consulting ‘special interest groups’ and ignore ‘ordinary people’, so results of exercises might not be very representative of the needs and wants of the whole user population, can get people with specific personal agenda and ‘axe to grind’ rather than people who are open to discussion and consideration of new ideas. Not active generation of problem areas and priorities.
  • Users are treated as experts of their own experience – lead users are generally highly motivated to find a solution to a problem either for altruistic reasons or to make life easier/better for themselves. Co-design enables such people to play a significant role in problem definition, knowledge development, idea generation and concept development. And can produce benefits in terms of innovation, view that everyone can be creative if provided with motivation and tools to be so.
  • First step in co-design process is to increase awareness. This animation was based on the data from the staff travel survey and showed a simulation of the morning commute (6.30 to 9.30am) indicating start points (home, with an off-set for privacy), end points (entry gate to workplace), modes (car, motorbike, train, bus, walk, cycle), times of travel and routes (the latter was based on routing algorithms between start and end points or real train/bus timetables). Staff were asked to get in touch to comment on the animation and/or to volunteer for the study. The animation was produced to encourage engagement in the problem space – raise awareness and create a desire to solve the problem (first stages of co-design process). All took an initial questionnaire which was used to match participants in each group according to potential confounding factors – commute mode, stated intention to change (to sustainable transport behaviours) and creativity when problem solving. This was used to match people in the different groups, the co-design and non co-design groups
  • Generate these from a co-design approach as opposed to traditional methods. Co-design focus on problem definition more than problem solving – trying to generate ideas without inhibition of considering HOW they would be implemented. Fairly unique in terms of trying to quantify the difference in innovation between co-design and traditional techniques
  • Overview of the differences and similarities between the two participant groups – key differences were storytelling (part of the ‘sensitisation’) and co-creation activities within idea generation e.g. barriers and enablers and ‘how might we’ statements Synchronised as to timing at which key questionnaires took place to reduce impact of factors such as time of year and weather impacting differently on the groups. Both groups asked to generate ideas for reducing single-occupancy commuter journeys to and from campus. For the non-co-design group 12 completed all the stages described above. One left the study after the first stage because they left the University and 2 did not respond to repeated email reminders at the idea generation stage. For the co-design group 16 completed all stages.
  • Co-design group – interviews took place face-to-face asking each individual to tell the story of their commute. This was then transcribed and the transcription sent to them for their approval, and any required changes were made. The agreed story was then used to produce ‘storyboards’ for each person to show other people the story of that person’s commute to work. Example of storyboard produced for person ‘J’ – images from stock used to illustrate the comments made during interviews about their commute to work. These were then shared during focus group sessions – another participant (ie not J) was given this and asked to present J’s commute to the rest of the group. J could then correct or clarify any issues as required. After all participants’ stories had been shared in this way, all participants were asked to add notes and comments to the stories to indicate aspects that were the same as their own commute, aspects that were different, and any aspects that surprised them. This process was conducted to enable the participants to gain understanding of others’ viewpoints and reasons for their own commuting choices, and also to get the whole group fully immersed in the problem space of commuting and the reasons for different commuting modes and experiences.
  • The next part of the co-design process was to ask participants to think of barriers that prevent single occupancy car commutes, and enablers that support these. These were then used to develop ‘how might we…..whilst reducing single occupancy care travel’ questions (as contained in the IDEO human-centred design toolkit), and these were then used to generate ideas. Participants were told that ‘anything goes’, there were no bad ideas, didn’t have to worry about how those ideas might be implemented, we were just interested in capturing the different ideas that they had. Two examples from two different focus groups: how might we only pay for the journeys we make/reduce the cost of the commute, and how might we ensure good facilities for those who have reduced single occupancy car travel. And to demonstrate that people did engage, one example was the suggestion that contraception should be compulsory – if you don’t have children you don’t need to drive to do the school run before/after work!
  • Results - Number of unique ideas generated in each group The co-design group (n=16) generated 110 unique ideas (155 total ideas, including duplicates). By comparison the non-co-design group (n=12) produced 51 unique ideas (73 total ideas). A Chi-Square test indicated a significant difference (Assymp. Sig. < 0.0005 < 0.05).
  • The evaluation of each idea at a local level was conducted on all ideas by a member of the travel plan team at the university. They were asked to rate each idea according to whether they had ‘seen’ mentioned or proposed, seen it implemented , or neither, in the university contextIn addition, it had to have been tried/implemented for the commute and with a ‘sustainable travel’ objective
  • Items fell in to clear categories . We looked at knowledge, structure, attitudes, cost, norms, skills and habit, as per ‘Behavioural Insights Toolkit’ (DfT 2011). After this the project team further divided the ideas into categories in a card-sorting exercise, putting ideas together that shared a common basis/area. When these were counted, it could be seen that the co-design group produced more TYPES of ideas, and in this table you can see the different types of ideas generated by each group, and the items in BOLD indicate that more than twice as many ideas were generated of this type in this group than by the other group. No ideas were generated that fell under the ‘attitudes’ and ‘skills’ categories. It can be seen that co-design generated more ideas in all categories than the non-co design except for parking suggestions and flexi-time ideas. Co-design generated some ideas that were not considered at all by the non-co design group, for example sharing comparative knowledge (ie your carbon footprint compared to that of others’)
  • Engagement It is possible that the co-design group felt more commitment to the research team due to the face-to-face engagement of the storytelling stage. Anecdotally, responses from the final ‘evaluation of methods’ stage suggested that some in the non-co-design group would have preferred idea-generation in a group setting. Those in the co-design group were very positive about both face-to-face sessions (storytelling and idea generation). These factors may have had an influence on level of engagement. However, co-design more resource heavy, need to weigh up the benefits Not all participants completed all stages, but only one person failed to complete the co-design process whereas 3 failed to complete the non co-design trials. It could be that participants in the co-design felt that they had invested more in the process and wanted to see it through to the end. Number of ideas More from co-design (110 unique ideas from 16 participants compared to 51 unique ideas from 12 participants in the control group. On average 6.9 ideas per participant for co-design and only 4.3 ideas per pt for control group), but co-design requires more resources. Is Number of ideas alone a good outcome, or is quality (innovativeness, impact) more important Innovativeness – global Not significant difference, but still a greater number than generated by non co-design methods Innovativeness – local 52 ideas were judged to be locally innovative from the cod-design group (3.3 per participant) compared with 23 from the non-co-design group (1.9 per participant) Types of ideas This was the most significant finding. Possibly suggests that co-design leads to different types of idea and these are more about the psychological and social side of interventions e.g. comparative information, social connection etc.   So, overall – the co-design process did produce more ideas per participant and overall, which in the development of a travel plan would give a wider pool of ideas for consideration and inspiration. The results suggest that co-design techniques could generate novel ideas for an organisation to consider alongside (or in place of) existing solutions. We did not look at whether the ideas suggested WOULD reduce single occupancy car commutes, the main aim was to look at the process of generating ideas and new ways of considering the issues, which could be applicable in many situations, not just the construction of travel plans.
  • Ruth Sims - Co-design to generate innovative ideas

    1. 1. Welcome to UCD2012 Sponsored by Supported by
    2. 2. Saturday 10th November 2012, 11.30am Dr Ruth Sims Co-design to generate innovative ideas Thi s doc ument and i t s c ont ent i s Copyri ght ©2012 [ s peaker nam and UCD UK Li m t ed. e] iLoughborough Design School
    3. 3. Co-design to generate innovative ideas Dr Ruth Sims Loughborough Design School
    4. 4. Co-design to generate innovative ideasThe project - Ideas in Transit  Tracy Ross & Val Mitchell, Loughborough Design SchoolLoughborough Design School
    5. 5. Co-design to generate innovative ideasThe project - overview  Travel planning: move towards public engagement  What does this involve?  Questionnaires  Consultation documents  Focus groups  Citizen’s juries  Visioning exercises  Workshops  Difficulties with public engagement  Apathy  Poor turn-out  Dominating agendas  Entrenched views  Negativity  How effective the methods areLoughborough Design School
    6. 6. Co-design to generate innovative ideasThe project - why co-design? “Co-operative, continuous process bringing everyday people together with design professionals to find new and better ideas for daily life” (Scott et al, 2009).  Interactive, deliberative approach  Effective in generating novel ideas  Participants are engaged and actively involvedLoughborough Design School
    7. 7. Co-design to generate innovative ideasThe animation Design School
    8. 8. Co-design to generate innovative ideasAims  Generate more ideas  Generate more innovative ideas  Generate a wider breadth/type of ideasLoughborough Design School
    9. 9. Stage Co-design group Non-co-design groupPre-study questionnaire & Received & returned by Received & returned byonline survey on approach to email/internet email/internetproblem solvingStorytelling 20-30min face-to-face N/A interview, main points produced as text and photo ‘story sheet’ and checked with participant for accuracyIdea-generation 2hour session with 4 stages Received and returned by typical of the co-design email (typical of a traditional process: travel plan survey approach) -Context setting -Story sharing -Problem definition -Idea generationPost-study questionnaire Received and returned by Received and returned by email emailEvaluation of methods & 10min face-to-face interview 13 Received and returned bypayment given questions email 3 questions Loughborough Design School
    10. 10. Co-design to generate innovative ideasStoryboardsLoughborough Design School
    11. 11. Co-design to generate innovative ideasBarriers and enablesLoughborough Design School
    12. 12. Co-design to generate innovative ideasNumber of unique ideas generated in each groupLoughborough Design School
    13. 13. Co-design to generate innovative ideasInnovativeness of ideas in local contextLoughborough Design School
    14. 14. Co-design to generate innovative ideas Comparison of types of ideas generated by both groupsDfT (2011) Highest in Co-design group Equal in Highest in control groupCategory both groupsKnowledge Comparative or personalised information Corporateand informationAwareness Experiential Promotional/awareness-raising Providing generic information Real-time information Social informationStructural Organisational (incentives/dis- OrganisationalFactors incentives) (flexi-time) Organisational Organisational (parking) (policy structure) Organisational (working at home) Services Supplementary infrastructure Town policy Transport infrastructure (environment) Transport infrastructure (modes of transport) Loughborough Design School
    15. 15. Co-design to generate innovative ideasConclusions  Engagement  Generation of ideas (quantity)  Generation of ideas (innovation)  Generation of ideas (types)Loughborough Design School
    16. 16. Co-design to generate innovative ideas Thank you Any questions? Design School
    17. 17. Welcome to UCD2012 Sponsored by Supported by