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7th IDIA Conference - IDIA2013

Bangkok, Thailand
1-3 November 2013

Co-design with Communities. A Reflection on the Literature

Salomão David
Amalia G. Sabiescu
Lorenzo Cantoni

Full paper (PDF)


This paper reviews the literature focused on co-design with communities, studying its applicability in the field of Information and Communication Technologies for Development (ICTD). Texts dated from 2002 to 2013 have been surveyed, covering both subjects: “co-design” and “development”. Based on their disciplinary orientation, three clusters were identified: (1) information and communication for development, with a focus on developmental goals; (2) information systems, with a concern for technology design; and (3) social design, in which social issues are prioritized. The analysis reverted on the identification and discussion of the themes emphasized in the literature as the most important aspects for linking co-design activities with development. Five themes emerged from the analysis: stakeholders, context, ownership, social learning, and sustainability. The paper defines each theme and shows how it has been approached differently in the three clusters of related literature. This review is meant to inform future co-design studies in community settings, by providing a map of the most important research issues in this field coupled with considerations on how different disciplinary orientations – developmental, information systems, and social sciences – are likely to inform different approaches in dealing with these issues.