July 26, 2021
July 26, 2021
July 19, 2022
Community Engagement Division
Community Designers: A Pilot Virtual Community Co-Design Symposium
Among the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic is how to develop innovative strategies to address repeating and overlapping catastrophic events, and how to achieve this by engaging communities in ways that not only authentically invites their participation but empowers them to drive change. This paper addresses how to adapt and manage convergent cooperative “co-design” activities in a virtual setting that uses design thinking to bring together experts from communities, and university students and faculty from engineering and sociology. The authors represent a team that developed and executed an online symposium entitled “Co-Designing,” held from July 20 - August 6, 2020. The Symposium brought together diverse and multi-generational teams of 2-6 persons, totalling 42 participants from 11 local communities, including 28 women and 9 children under the age of 18 (with parental consent). The Symposium also included a staff of about a dozen leaders, mentors, and facilitators, including a mixture of independent scholars, faculty, and students. To facilitate virtual community-designer participation, we developed a cooperative mentoring framework and hi-tech/lo-tech interface. The Symposium engaged participants in learning the concepts of Co-Design Thinking, through the application of Appropriate Technology and Participatory Action Research methodology. Each community team chose a theme of disaster recovery - contact tracing, handwashing, and off-grid energy - and developed prototype solutions meaningful to their community. Student mentors learned to facilitate community co-design, replicable in future community engagement applications of engineering and convergent disciplines. Community teams learned a new process that validates their knowledge and flexes their efficacy to drive change from vision, to problem solving, to implementation project management. Community feedback indicated that participants felt empowered to use the co-design process in the future, and to expand their new innovation-implementation ecosystem to increase resilience.
Silva Diaz, P. C., & Favretti, M., & Ospina Uribe, N., & Papadopoulos, C., & Castro-Sitiriche, M., & Seijo-Maldonado, L. R., & Irizarry, M., & Moscoso, J., & Otero-Andino, G. A., & Crespo Pagan, K. O., & Garcia Canto, L. S., & Amato, G., & Cuevas, F. A., & del Rio-Pineda, D. M., & Simshauser-Arroyo, R. F. (2021, July), Community Designers: A Pilot Virtual Community Codesign Symposium Paper presented at 2021 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual Conference. 10.18260/1-2--36816
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