The value of co-creating with clients

The value of co-creating with clients

Without a strategy for meaningful learning, most projects fail to address critical issues and instead turn into bargaining games. According to studies in the field of learning and cognition, most information we learn cannot be recalled at some point. When starting a new project, recall is essential to advance ideas and problem-solving strategies. Understanding the underlying cognitive structures that influence a client’s thinking is crucial for improving project outcomes.

According to studies in the field of learning and cognition, most information we learn cannot be recalled at some point. When starting a new project, recall is essential to advance ideas and problem-solving strategies. Understanding the underlying cognitive structures that influence a client’s thinking is crucial for improving project outcomes.

David Ausubel, a pioneer in studying learning processes, identified the following conditions for meaningful learning:

  • The content must be potentially meaningful.
  • The learner must relate it in a meaningful way to his or her prior knowledge.

By allowing the client to shape a new structure actively, we have the chance to bring meaningful learning to every project and let go of the pressure to be the sole owners of the creative process.

How most projects go astray

It all starts in a similar way. The client agrees to work on the project with you and you set a first introductory meeting. By now, you probably analyzed the information provided and expect to work through ideas on how to address the problem. *But while the problem is new to you, the client will rely on their stored memories and the existing cognitive structure they use to obtain meaning. *Think of it as a shelf inside the brain where all the related problem information exists, although most times, they may not even recognize the stored information.

The client acknowledges they need new input in order to achieve a particular improvement. That improvement will look different for each and take the form of an interactional idea, a mix of your new idea and theirs. The recalling of these interactional ideas will be the key to working well together during this process.

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Why should I care about interactional ideas?

  • The client will base decision-making on this idea
  • The client will develop success criteria based on the idea
  • The client will talk to you about that idea, not yours
  • The client will completely forget about your new idea at some point

What happens when there’s not a shared understanding of the interactional idea?

  • Longer meetings
  • New variations to be re-introduced constantly
  • Repetition of work
  • Building on baseless requirements

cognition learning design design-process ux

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