24 Jun 2015

Co-creation experiences in Santander

SantanderCo-Creation, internet of things


Co-creation is the buzzword of the day that is used in broad range of applications. It is defined as any act of collective creativity that is experienced jointly by two or more people. It is a special case of collaboration where the intent is to create something that is not known in advance. There are many different types of co-creation happening today, including co-creation within communities, inside companies and organizations, between companies and their business partners, between companies and the people they serve (customers, consumers, or end-users), etc.

In the context of smart cities, the co-creation is applied to design solutions in a collaborative way, integrating all city stakeholders, including public institutions, companies, university, entrepreneurs and citizens, who have the knowledge and experience to propose and develop solutions that transform the city into a friendlier environment to simplify their lives. This process increases the awareness of society about the urban challenges faced by cities and local government, to create a network of collaborators and finally a community of “partners” to address local and municipal issues.

There are different mechanisms to carry out a process of co-creation, either through hackathons, workshops, meetups, etc. The University of Cantabria have a varied experience in performing experiments of co-creation, among them are the workshops carried out under the framework of SocioTal project.

One of the first co-creation workshops developed by University of Cantabria was aimed to build awareness among the SocIoTal partners in order to prepare use cases based on a structured input that is possible to receive from end users, even as early as the initial brainstorming phase. It also was considered the situation of a use case already defined, in which case the goal was to find a productive way of engaging targeted end users to assist and co-define the prioritization of activities.


Six people within and out of the SocIoTal project were involved in the session. After a brief introduction about the different steps to follow in the co-creation workshop, they started creating a use case from scratch. The creation process was developed using cards where different situations in a city were represented. Based on the cards, participants were asked to select those which present situations where IoT could offer some benefits. After a bit of discussion, three cards were selected, one related to the transport, other related to IoT in education and finally one about Smart Shopping. After an initial description of the use cases extracted from the cards, establishing the pros and cons for each of them, the Smart Shopping use case was selected for a more thorough analysis. The use case was analyzed looking for who (who are the actors?), where (places involved in the use case), what (the process, different steps, on the use case) and why (what necessities does the use case fulfil?). After that, the description was translated and represented on a Santander map, establishing the objects, the intelligence and the connections between them using different pieces and totems. Also, it was selected the devices needed and analyzed how the user would observe the use case through them. Finally, the session finished with some conclusions, highlighting the benefits added by the use case, the barriers that could be found, and also benefits from the activity per se.


One of the last co-creation workshops was held in early 2015 with eight participants. Unlike the previous workshop, this time a specific use case was analyzed: accessible routes in the city. This use case was born from an idea proposed within the Santander City Brain platform (http://www.santandercitybrain.com/). It proposes an application that offers disabled people a mean to obtain routes to go from one point in the city to another, avoiding architectural barriers based on info provided by local authorities and other application users.

The objective of this co-creation workshop was to gain more insights in the needs of multiple stakeholders regarding to the context of the underlying use case. Especially, more insights about the type of architectural barriers and the desired information per application user were required to inform the build of the application.

All of the participants contributed to the workshop in a very valuable way. The collaboration between multiple stakeholders led to more empathy between them. The City Council, the creators of the idea in Santander City Brain and University of Cantabria obtained very detailed information from the participants who were part of the target group. The people with a physical disability who participated in the session have firsthand experience and can therefore convey the experience and problems that they face in their daily lives. Consequently their ideas and suggestions are very rich and contain detailed information that a person without a disability could never imagine. The use case was explored in depth and led to valuable information concerning the design and the development of the corresponding software application.


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