The recent developments in production processes of goods and information, in particular, has taken a twist from the traditional paradigms. The advancement of technology such as the development of social media has enabled this paradigm shift in the production and usage of products. What I gather from Brun (2007) illuminating analysis is that technology has made it possible for informational production to be an interactive activity. The collaboration makes the producers also the users of the products in what is now called produsage. The disruptive nature of produsage changes the way we define products (static products v dynamic artifacts), producers, and users. The phenomenon is being driven by a variety of domains such as social networking tools, collaborative knowledge management in specific discipline areas, collaborative production of creative content, multi-gamers cooperation, citizen journalism, collaborative filtering, and open source software development.
Although produsage has been lauded for opening up creative spaces in information production, I think the collaboration between diverse groups of produsers also brings about the issue of tracking copyright or intellectual property. Produsage makes the product more of open source which makes it hard to claim intellectual property rights. Commercial producers have adapted their approaches to embrace various producers. This is of particular importance to me because it answers the question that has been lingering on my mind for a long time. Most notably, I often ask myself how for example, the traditional media houses as the treadmills of editorial content cope with the rise of alternative media. I now understand that they have shifted to a broad community of participants to generate content; utilize produsers as leaders, participants, and users of content; accepted the fact that the artifacts created are works in progress'; and employ copyright systems that enable continuing collaboration but limits the publishing of content.
The extent of the impact of produsage on non-information production remains unclear. However, co-design and co-creation have been embraced in the design industry for more than six decades. I always thought that design in various fields is a tricky business due to the diverse tastes and preferences of end-users. The concepts of co-predesign, co-design, and co-creation quickly brings to my mind the importance of the user in the creative process of new products particularly in the end of the mature product cycles. The producers may invariably run out of ideas as to which products may or may not appeal to the consumer. The secret may lie in going back to the consumers to ask them what they want in the next product. This is particularly important for the design and production of, for example, luxury products such as cars, clothing, electronics, and software, just to mention but a few.
Cutthroat competition and a sophisticated consumer make the design industry harder than it was when the traditional production models were applied and still products sold. Such sophistication requires a contemporary designer to enter the mind of the consumer to find out the exact needs. This leads to an inevitable collaboration between the designer and the user. In other words, I imagine a scenario whereby the user is the originator of the creative idea. The work of the designer is to fine-tune the idea to meet the expectations of the consumer. It is hard to imagine this as a one-size-fits-all end-product. However, the involvement of the typical consumer enables designers to make products that are more acceptable to the mass consumer (Sanders & Stappers, 2008).
It is foolhardy for designers to ignore the ongoing industry trends as the design practice landscape has continually been transformed by the user-centered design approach to co-design, interaction design, and now transformation design. It is becoming clear to me that social and economic factors are at the center of the transformation. The design process is becoming more and more people needs-centered (production of ideas that address the experience, emotion, interaction, service, transformation, and sustainability).
Apparently, the above transformation is having similar impacts on the stakeholders as does the produsers in the informational production. The users are now playing a co-creation role in the design process through the expertise of their experiences. The designers role is to gather these experiences and expertly coalesce them into the product that the user wants. Not all users are creative, and they all cannot be designers. Therefore, they can co-create in the process of designing products.
I think that utilizing the concept of co-creation fully in the design practice will be disruptive especially how and what we design as well as who designs. The design teams are going to be more diverse incorporating wider views from user experiences, ' and they will use different methods and tools in the design process. I also think that the new products will be as a result of collective creativity rather than that of expert designers. In my view, produsage and co-creation have many similarities, but the main theme is that production is changing from the traditional producer to the involvement of teams i.e. produsage and co-creation.
Bruns, A. (2007). Produsage. In Proceedings of the 6th ACM SIGCHI conference on Creativity & cognition (pp. 99-106). ACM.
Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. Co-design, 4(1), 5-18.
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