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DSI Ethics Lab

ethics and design in aotearoa

The DSI symposium in July this year included an an ethics lab. The lab was used to profile and explore different ethical questions and dimensions relating to co-design practice in Aotearoa.

Co-design in Aotearoa is an emerging practice area. Those doing co-design come from different backgrounds and disciplines and we don't currently share a visible or known set of ethical guidelines or principles - instead practitioners draw from their own fields of experience. The ethics lab was an attempt to draw together some potential principles, and highlight some of the ethical questions and challenges in our practice and was brought together by Noel Brown of DNA, with Darcy Dalzell and Mondy Jera from Think Place.

In addition to provocations on the walls, the ethics lab included several sessions exploring ethical dilemmas and challenges. This included using LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® and Scenes to explore different experiences and ethical dilemmas when using co-design. These not only gave a chance for people to share perspectives, it also revealed that as a practice we have different levels of experience and expertise around noticing ethical challenges, how we articulate the ethics within a scenario, and that as a community we differ in what we would intuitively understand as "good" ethical practice. This highlighted the need to have an ongoing conversation about how we might develop a stronger ethical foundation which balances the needs of organisations and people within a co-design process.

Noel Brown has created a summary of some of key issues he saw explored over the two days that help to lay out some of the ethical landscape of co-design in Aotearoa.

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