Ruth's Mugshot


Design research lead
Dropbox, USA


Designing co-creative research

When so many of the products and services launching around us seem to lack a fundamental understanding of people (or worse, act in ways that harm or undermine our goals) — how might we as designers commit to making things that are useful and meaningful for the people using them?

In this talk, we’ll share with you how we’ve been exploring co-creative research and participatory design as a means to have a different kind of conversation and relationship with our customers. And to make a different kind of product.

Co-creative research invites the people we’re typically designing for into the process with us — where together we discover problem spaces, envision possible solutions, and develop a deeper sense of what matters, what will make a difference, and why.

Co-creation is a fundamentally different way to approach design — it’s not only a way to generate new ideas, spark curiosity and creativity, and develop new products — but a process for placing mutual benefit and care for others, as well as deep consideration for their context, at the center of our practice. It’s a way of working that moves us toward developing truly human-centered products.


Designing co-creative research : The workshop

Wednesday, 14 March — 09:00

This full-day workshop introduces techniques to conduct co-creative research. We’ll cover research interview basics, how to incorporate methods leanly into design practice, and resources for designing creative and collaborative research activities. By the end of this full-day session, participants will have a foundation and hands-on experience to design and conduct creative, participatory research. They’ll leave with an understanding of how to have a different kind of conversation with their audiences and customers — one that is generative, energizing, and leads to more resonant and useful design.

This workshop is for anyone looking to design technology not only for people, but with people. Together, we’ll cover:

  • Design research foundations: How (and why) to interview the people you design for as part of your design process.
  • Why and when to do co-creative research: What’s different about co-creative research compared to usability or other kinds of testing? When is it most appropriate in the design process?
  • Methods for telling: We’ll cover methodologies to use to help people express what’s important to them and what they value, so it can be considered in the front-end of the design process.
  • Methods for making: Then, we’ll introduce ways to make together with customers so they can express what technology should do or be to support their goals. Or how a product or website can help them achieve the things they want to enable for themselves.
  • Methods for enacting: Lastly, we’ll share with you some ways we’ve explored enacting — or making real — some of these different design futures with our customers as well as our teams.

About Ruth

Ruth is a design research lead in New York City. She designs research and experiences for people and teams that are inclusive, collaborative, and generative.

Her favorite part of the design process is when research insights lead to concepts — she loves translating what she learns with teams into ideas how to improve people’s lives.

Ruth has worked at companies like Atlassian, SurveyMonkey, and Netflix, and currently works at Dropbox. She’s insatiably curious, and a little bit obsessed with her dog. She’s also an avid maker of soups in all seasons.

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