Co-designing with young consumers – reflections, challenges and benefits
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Purpose – This paper aims to explore co-design as a method for actively involving young consumers in the design of an alcohol education program that utilizes an interactive Virtual Reality (VR) component. Design/methodology/approach – Dietrich et al. (2017) six-step framework was applied to a co-design project involving four groups of 14- to 16-year-old Australian high school students. Data collection included observations by three facilitators, written feedback from members of each group and video presentations of the generated ideas. The data analysis focused on investigating the applicability of the six-step framework to young consumers and evaluating the quality and practicality of the generated ideas. Findings – Sensitization is key to enabling young consumers to become equal participants during the co-design process. Sensitization allowed the participants to engage in the design task in a playful manner, which fostered active participation and creative insights during the co-design session. A team approach based on interactivity and group autonomy enabled adolescents to contribute insights into their specific needs and wants. This was complemented by a trusting environment and the presence of immediately available yet “hands off” facilitators. Research limitations/implications – The findings are limited to one specific sample and design task. Future research is required that investigates co-design with young consumers in different contexts. Practical implications – This paper provides guidance for the application of co-design with young consumers by highlighting the importance of sensitization and facilitation. Originality/value – This study marks one of the first approaches to co-designing alcohol education programs, including VR components, with young consumers. The findings contribute to a better understanding of the consequences of involving young consumers through co-design.
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