Co-design Workshops: Methods and tools for Social Entrepreneurship with Local Communities

co-design workshops


João Sampaio, Teresa Franqueira, Marta Fereira Dias, Marlene Amorim, Liliana Ávila.


This article describes a set of workshops design-driven methodology that has explored the social entrepreneurship and social innovation dimensions to empower local communities. A multidisciplinary team (Design, Social Sciences and Governance, Management and Economics, among others) from University of

Aveiro organized the OIS (Oficinas de Inovação Social)workshos, that were requested by 11 municipalities of the Aveiro Region to promote services based in sustainable lifestyles, active citizenship, social inclusion, cultural diversity and new economic models. The workshops intended to develop services based on social entrepreneurship based on a local context and with local communities. In this project, it was applied a conceptual framework structure in seven phases before, during and after the workshops: Characterization (1), awareness (2), Identification of context (3), Idea Generation (4), Scenarios building (5), Consolidation (6) and Incubation and prototyping (7). In the 1st and 2nd phases, before the workshop, were applied ethnographic approaches, that allowed the team to frame, analyze and characterize the context of action, by identifying potential local actors and regions assets, as well a more particular understanding about the communication channels to disseminate the initiative and promoting effective involvement of local people. During the workshops, we included the subsequent four phases dedicated to context identification by introducing the several concepts of entrepreneurship and social innovation, examples and current opportunities and then we started several design exercises on which participants went through identifying the context of action, generating ideas and building scenarios in the framework of a service concept for their communities, until the consolidation of final proposition. During this process, we instigate the participant and gave then tools to explore visual thinking and communication and incorporate a session with a Management and Economic team, in order to build a sustainable financial scenario. The workshops were organized in 4 themes according to the opportunities previously mapped in the region: Health & Care;

Agriculture & Food; Tourism & Sustainable Development; Cultural Heritage Preservation. After the workshops that has resulted in 2 or 3 service ideas each we instigated the participants to embrace a phase of incubation and prototyping the service helped by mentoring sessions.