Co-creation starts — and unfolds — with meeting people in real life settings, experiencing their problems, getting a taste of their aspirations and projects.
For Ciência Viva, this means understanding the river Tejo in practice: how is it “designed”, how people “use” it (or not), how do they value it, how do they want to transform it.
This is not unlike an ethnographic exercise: we walked and biked along the Tejo bank, taking notes and pictures, recording videos and talking with random bystanders.
We sailed up and down a stretch of the river, with a skipper that get us acquainted with its potential, while pointing out the limitations to its use.
We hanged around with local stakeholders, following them in their errands to address issues related to our own challenge, e.g., the poor state of infrastructure giving access to the water surface.
We sailed up and down a much longer stretch of the river, together with a Catholic procession on the water, and with policy makers, entrepreneurs, journalists and a few residents, who want to show how the river cultural heritage can be interesting.
And we even had co-creation meetings in an boat anchored in the local marina – real life settings can be inspiring for dialogue too!