The design of cooperation

Burdette Theatre

The typical skills of a human-centered designer, empathy, visual thinking and openness to new insights are useful for the facilitation of any cooperative dialogue among stakeholders, not only a dialogue about a product’s user interface. Indeed, human-centered designers are great at ‘cooperation for design’, as in co-creation and participatory design.

Humans multiplied their number by three orders of magnitudes in 10.000 years all the while reducing greatly the relative level of violent discord. This miracle is largely due to our capability for empathy and cooperation.

Traditionally, HCD focusses on humans as psychological entities using artefacts. However, HCD could just as well, and probably to greater effect, focus on humans as social entities that cooperate through artefacts and conventions. These artefacts and conventions also deserve to be designed by taking into account the human innate capabilities and limitations for cooperation. Design patterns such as common pool resources, creative conspiracy, open production and self-governance can be applied. The objective of this type of HCD is to conceive modes of cooperation that are innovative and that create new social realities.

This could be called “the design of cooperation”.

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