Kick-off prototyping and experimentation phase

Before the end of 2019, we kicked-off the prototyping and experimentation phase of our co-creation journey with two co-design workshops with citizens and policy makers of the municipality of Voerendaal. On the 12th of November, we welcomed almost 20 participants, including citizens of the village of Ransdaal (part of Voerendaal), an alderman, civil servants and city council members at the Cube design labs. In this first exploratory workshop, we focused on commitment and stakeholder engagement and addressed questions of shared values and expectations. We used the service design tool customer journeys to explore, understand and visualize the ways in which ideas currently come to fruition (or not). Which stakeholders are involved and what are the different roles they take?

We learned that different stakeholders speak different languages, while citizens feel dependent on the municipality, which makes co-creation challenging. At the same time participants were able to establish an open dialogue resulting in shared values based on openness, equality and opportunities (instead of limitations). All participants agree that the future somehow demands a different way of policy making and ways of living, but the question is how to do that? How to go beyond our given frames?

We organized the second workshop on the 21st of November in community center ‘t Wouves in the village of Ransdaal. While the first workshop addressed the past and the present, in this second workshop we focused on the future of Ransdaal. What do citizens and policy makers envision the village to be in 20 years? To get participants into the mood of prototyping and to let them experience the power of playing and experimentation, we started the workshop with the coffee filter challenge, developed by Guido Stompff. We then provided them with the challenge of making Ransdaal the best village of the world. To encourage creativity and new perspectives, we provided participants with lots of colourful magazines to cut out images and build their own mood boards. The results were four big visualisations of how citizens and policy makers envision quality of life in future Ransdaal. We then used dot voting to prioritize and determine where to start now.

The workshop was concluded with a brainstorm and discussion of how to actually get to this envisioned future. What and who do we need? The main conclusion was that the only thing we can know is that the future will be different. But we don’t know what the future will bring. Therefore we need a flexible infrastructure (either physical or virtual), where ideas and people can find each other, with room for experimentation and failure. This could be realized as a living lab, an experimental testing ground, a flexible think tank, or…? We will continue prototyping form and content in 2020!


– written by Anja Köppchen –

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