Co-design in a ‘Social’ Sharing Economy. Understanding Levels of Citizen Participation in Collaborative Services
The aim of this chapter is to discuss a ‘minor’ characteristic of the sharing economy, focused on local exchange trading systems that arise from creative communities and local social innovations. This is the ‘social side’ of the sharing economy, quite different from the well-known digital platforms that are actually multinational companies allowing commercial exchanges amongst a variety of actors. As service designers researching in the field of social innovation, we are interested in exploring the sharing economy under this particular perspective; more specifically, we wish to centre on the contribution of the user (or, better, of the community of citizens–users) in developing this new generation of collaborative services. To do so, we build upon a series of Italian case studies coming from the ‘Creative Citizens’ programme held within the POLIMI DESIS Laboratory of the Politecnico di Milano. Finally, we discuss the interconnection between the various levels of citizen participation in such collaborative services, starting from co-design and then focusing on co-production, co-management and co-ownership. More specifically, highlighting how co-design may be a powerful means to pre-define roles and responsibilities, from both a practical and a formal point of view.
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