Co-design Workshop Resources: Techniques and Methods

This is a work in progress bibliography of  industry articles and academic papers that describe, discuss or demonstrate various co-design and collaborative workshop techniques. (See also related post on Design Guides/Frameworks/Toolkits). Any further contributions welcome.

Co-design method/technique Overviews

Liz Sanders is the first start point for Co-design Techniques and methods, she makes all her presentations and papers available at

Convivial Toolbox: Generative Research for the Front End of Design by Liz Sanders and Pieter Jan Stappers provides extensive coverage of generative toolkits and how they can be used in practice.

A Framework for Organising the Tools and Techniques of Participatory Design by Sanders, Brandt and Binder this paper provides a framework for thinking about how, when and why different co-design methods and techniques work and can be used.

Creativity-based Research: The Process of Co-Designing with Users: A great over view of some of the methods and techniques by Catalina Naranjo-Bock (also drawing on Liz’s work) for UX Magazine

Enabling Co-design A discussion of principles and techniques by myself and Natalie Rowland for Johnny Holland.

Creating Together, Building Value with Participatory Design: An overview and case studies of different methods from experience design agency Experientia

Not to prime is a Crime: An article on the value of “pre-tasks” to sensitise participants before workshops by Jodie Moule of Symplicit (using generative techniques such as collage).

Specific Techniques/examples

A Game, Making your way: An example of using board games as a research technique developed by Mel Edwards for the IRD

Inspiration Card Workshops A paper describing a card technique to support inspiration and design sessions with users by Kim Halskov and Peter Dalsgård

Playful Triggers to Visualise Knowledge Explanation and example of a method developed by Yoko Akama and Daria Loi (example is community workshops to increase bushfire awareness in Victoria, Australia)

Co-design methods for designing with and for families A paper reporting on a specific project and various techniques by Bo Westerlund et al.

An Iterative and Participatory HCI Design Process in the Industry Context: Bringing together Utility, Usability and Innovation …within Budget A paper reporting on techniques used for prototyping interfaces in participatory workshops.

Service innovation through touch-points: the AT-ONE touch-point cards A description of the development of At-One touchpoint cards and mapping technique, valuable for cross functionality and multi-disciplinary teams.

Facilitating Collaborative Design Workshops – a step by step guide for rapidly creating a shared vision for execution A very detailed description by Jason Furnell from Thoughtworks of their internal collaborative design process

Time for a new approach? Rapid prototyping at the Social Change Collaboratory A blog post by David Hood explaining a team-based rapid prototyping activity (board game based) originally developed at Deloitte.

Connecting Generations: Developing Co-Design Methods for Older Adults and Children   An exploratory paper exploring how co-design methods can support cross generational design and research by Xie et al.

Empathy Probes An overview of using “empathy probes” to support the design process by Tuuli Mattelmäki and Katja Battarbee (Mattelmäki has done extensive work on this approach e.g., Examples of Probes Planning).

More general

Some lessons learned, regarding prototyping and framing, from PD workshops Very interesting and useful discussion paper reflecting on how co-design and participatory workshops work, things to be aware of etc, with example by Bo Westerlund

Experiencing, exploring and experimenting in and with Co-design spaces A paper exploring the notion of co-design spaces by Liz Sanders and Bo Westerlund.

Futures/Scenarios Planning Tools
Scenario Planning:
 Scenario Planning Tools and Techniques from

Visions, Scenario Maps and Innovation Paths for Sustainable Futures -Workshop-Facilitator’s Guide  This is a practical and detailed description of a Futures Workshop technique designed by Idil Gaziulusoy as part of her PhD thesis (Pdf).

(Blog post Edited 9 July to add scenario planning tools).

Blog posted edited 4 May 2013 to include Convivial Toolbox)



  1. A lot of techniques and tools, but unfortunately no clear classifications, frameworks, or theories to show how to select the techniques and tools to be used in a certain context. Is there any framework for the selection?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *