Related Resources

Co-design Workshops from Previous Years

The following are examples of collaborative design workshops that may be used depending on project context. We will use known workshop techniques as well as create (and document) new workshops as needed:

  • User Stories 101. What is a user story, how to make one, how to know when it’s solved. Workshop re: Explaining to someone exactly how to do some kind of simple action.
  • Paper tracker. Issue prioritization workshop. Methods for working with a community partner to surface and prioritize feature requests. Create a paper version of an issue tracker, get the user stories, bug reports, and feature requests on the wall, give them difficulty levels, rearrange by priority.
  • Shadowing. How and why to shadow to better understand & document practices.
  • I <3 this feature. Use paper hearts to ‘like’ design elements or features. Write what you like on the heart, and physically attach it to the element of a design / tool / object that you like. Example: VozMob feature prioritization workshop.
  • Dream phone / My future phone (NOS). On a single sheet of paper, sketch your dream phone. Title the sketch and describe in one sentence the form and features of the dream phone, answering questions like ‘What does it look like? What does it do? How will you use it? When and where will you use it?"
  • Name that tech. Using a shared set of symbols, participants create collages to illustrate a concept. Example: ‘Name that tech’ workshop at AMC 2011.
  • Paper prototype UI. Using (mobile) screen-sized sheets of paper, draw each screen in your user interface. Try ‘running’ the app by pressing the ‘screen,’ then swapping in the next screen / element that will be triggered. Cheap and creative way to test UI before writing a line of code. We’ll also explore paper prototyping tools like POPApp.
  • Info Tree and Info Block. Method of creating information architecture by creating a physical tree (out of styrofoam balls, with info categories written on each) or by arranging blocks representing info categories. See: Baek, Joon-Sang, and Kun-Pyo Lee. “A Participatory Design Approach to Information Architecture Design for Children.” Co-Design 4, no. 3 (2008): 173–91.
  • Cooperative prototyping, or the dynamic building and iterating of a web page’s design in real time on a large screen.

Further Readings

Irani, Lilly C., and M. Silberman. “Turkopticon: Interrupting Worker Invisibility in Amazon Mechanical Turk.” Proceedings of the SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, ACM (2013): 611–20.

Lee, Caroline W. “Participatory Practices in Organizations.” (PDF) Sociology Compass 9, no. 4 (2015): 272–88.

Benkler, Yochai. “Practical Anarchism: Peer Mutualism, Market Power, and the Fallible State.” Politics & Society 41, no. 2 (2013): 213–51.

Scholz, Trebor. “Platform Cooperativism-Challenging the Corporate Sharing Economy.” Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, January, 2016.

Freeman, Jo. “The Tyranny of Structurelessness.” (PDF) WSQ: Women’s Studies Quarterly 41, no. 3 (2013): 231–46.

Kerr, Camille. “A Brief Guide to Understanding Employee Ownership Structures.” Democracy at Work Institute, 2015.

Additional Resources

Co-opoly: The Game of Co-operatives

Dynamo—an open-source platform for computational design and for building information modeling (BIM)

Platform Cooperativism Conference


The Take. Directed by Avi Lewis. Black and White and Color, 87 min. 2004.