Harnessing the Power of Lived Experience via Co-Design

3:30 pm

Thea Hogarth

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Session Description

Over the years, we’ve seen a propagation of stories that have risen to the status of legends or even myths (or dare I say clichés) about the way design and designers can magically see solutions to problems that the rest of humanity couldn’t possibly imagine. The purpose of this talk is to gently debunk or perhaps reorient our understanding of these myths by making a case for co-design – and creating directly alongside the folks we’re designing for. Imagination isn’t the soul domain of designers and creatives; what happens when we create authentic opportunities for everyone to think big?

When we talk about “democratizing” research, often we’re describing a process of making it easier for folks who don’t have “research” in their title to enact certain processes, but what about the people with lived experience of the problem we’re trying to solve? Building relationships and community beyond our organizational context can help us harness the power of lived experience and open communication channels that make it easy for anyone to learn from their users’ authentic context.

You’ll leave this talk with:

  • A new way of understanding the “faster horse” argument
  • An example of an emergent co-design practice to reference
  • A few thought-starters to catalyze your journey into co-design


Thea Hogarth

Somehow managed to make a career of caring about how people communicate, navigate, and learn in the digital world. 🤘 Past lives as a writer, educator, and edtech startup multi-tool. 🔮

Thea Hogarth
Thea Hogarth
PWDR 2023
Developed for researchers and the teams they support. This full day virtual session will deliver real-world stories and sound advice from People Who Do Research.