Every day we practically examine how technology can be used to solve current social issues and challenges. The Care group of Waag focuses on finding solutions for personal issues and challenges related to health. We strive to find real solutions for real people. In doing so, we do not just sit on our own little island pretending we know what people need. Instead, we try to work together with people on solutions that are relevant and appropriate to them.
Depending on our project partners, and the knowledge, preference and expertise of the individuals with whom we want to develop and design together, we choose a way to work together. The user remains in the lead. We this type of joint development co-creation. Co-creation is our preferred methodology because it is not about endlessly exploring "must haves" and "nice to haves", after which one develops one final product at the end. Instead, co-creation is a creative process of learning by doing together. This means that we try to get the first idea "out of hand and in the hand" quite early. We do this by quickly developing first prototypes. Continuous testing and discussing these prototypes always provides a lot of new information about the next desirable improvement. Every new development round is called an iteration, and per iteration we polish an idea - like a rough diamond - into a valuable and desired end product together.
Together with the Radboud University in Nijmegen, and the St. Maartenskliniek we have developed a tool for neurological patients with dysarthric speech. We have done so in a project called CHASING. My Waag colleagues Douwe-Sjoerd Boschman (concept developer) and Lodewijk Loos (software developer) have been working on this since 2014. The patients involved are less intelligible due to reduced muscle strength and/or coordination of the speech organs, such as tongue, lips and jaws. For active social participation, however, it has proven to be important to improve the quality of speech. That is why we started working with our partners and these patients. The end product is an interactive game to support speech therapy.
Insight into the method
In order to create a final product, we have also gone through such a co-creation trajectory about which we can now offer a publication (in Dutch). All concepts that we have developed and tested can be found in this document. It also describes all iterations finally this led to the final product. The aim of this publication is to give insight into co-creation and some practices as a guiding principle in the development of care solutions. This publication shows at least how we have worked on solutions for health challenges here so let yourself be inspired and feel free to approach us for more information.