Shifting the Powerplay in Co-design
Social innovation is inescapably intertwined with power. However, in practice, power is not always or often discussed.
Recently, others have noticed this power unconsciousness too and have been offering provocations about the role of power in co-design: who holds it, what dynamics are at play in co-production, and the lack of education about power in design curricula.
I’ve been curious about how we take these conversations further, make the role of power explicit, hold ourselves accountable to the forces that are at play in creating better outcomes, and lift this power unconsciousness from the social innovation sector.
I’ve developed some tools and resources to support the exploration of power in our work and further demonstrate the implications of three laws of power.
1 When power is unequal, it imbalances who has the agency to act.
2 Power accumulates
3 Power can be transformed and transferred
An essay and provocation to support design’s collective responsibility to redistribute power.
Powerplay Cards: A game to spark a reflection on power inventories and demonstrate the laws of power.
Equalizer Cards: Equalizing prompts and strategies to shift the power balance.
Transformation Canvas: A canvas to map the potential outcomes of a project when power is and is not considered.