Our trips offer designers an opportunity to shake things up in a supportive and relaxing environment and to work with new people in new ways, to share ideas, brush up on or learn new design skills and network with other designers.
Have an adventure, collaborate with new people and make a difference in the world.
Designers are able to hone their skills in the field while doing meaningful work. Our projects demand a return to ‘basics,’ as the tools one is accustomed to working with, may not be available. Our methodology is such that participants’ best skills are brought to service.
Benefits for the professional designer:
- Experiencing new cultures
- Getting outside your comfort zone
- Meaningful collaboration and skill sharing
- Networking with other designers
- Brushing up on design skills
- Team building
- Back-to-basics approach
Surrounded by the familiar, we are inclined to “switch off” and are only prompted when difference breaks our routine. Transplanted to another place – in particular, another culture – our observational ability is stirred and we begin to notice the smallest of details.
The broader one’s understanding of the human experience, the better designs we will have.
We love working with students. Not only does it draw on our background of design education, but we find that working with students really encourages an equitable approach to collaboration.
Gain experience, accelerate skills and make a real difference in the world.
Our trips offer students the opportunity to gain real-work experience through rewarding and meaningful projects. Hands-on fieldwork also exposes students to new learning opportunities in diverse areas and helps clarify interests and career goals.
Benefits for student designers:
- Develop an appreciation for different points of view
- Experience new cultures
- Learn and improve design skills
- Learn to think responsively
Problem solve with limited resources
- Work in the field
- Learn new skills
- Inform thesis work
- May apply for co-op hours
Hands-on fieldwork exposes students to new learning opportunities in diverse areas and helps clarify interests and career goals. These projects have the potential to inform thesis work, both within current studies and at the post-graduate level.
“The trip felt truly one of a kind. We were doing things I would never have been able to had I gone to India on my own, and I learned so much about Indian culture and design. I feel so lucky to have had the experiences I did and to have met so many wonderful people there.”
Juliana Scherzer, India May 2017
“Working with the Barefoot College was unbelievably special and something I could only have experienced on this trip. Getting to know those fantastic, talented people and sharing our lives with each other was amazing. Everyone was very kind, open, understanding, and welcoming, I really had the feeling that there was an equal exchange of value in this time spent for both us and them, which was important to me on this trip. I wanted to be sure we weren’t intruding or overtaking and I didn’t have that feeling at all, there was only a genuine desire to work together and learn on all sides.”
Juliana Scherzer, India May 2017
“Going to India with CoDesign Abroad was, in a word, incredible.We encountered nothing but love and compassion from everyone on campus. The meals were delicious and lunch was a wonderful opportunity to have great conversations with the beautiful humans that work at the Barefoot College. I was deeply sad to say goodbye to everyone and fully intend on going again to reconnect!”
Emma Roszell, India 2017
Any community with a problem that can be addressed through design intervention can benefit from working with CoDA. Outcomes might be the design of new products, services or experiences such as: working with artisans to develop new craft products, finding efficiencies in workflow, or engaging youth to improve their communities through design thinking.
CoDA strives to provide an equitable experience for the communities we work with. We recognize the significant commitment that the local participants make towards our projects. In exchange, we organize teams with specific experience in design thinking and collaborative skills to create the best conditions for success. It is a priority that the community is included in determining needs from the very beginning and involved throughout the development process as we work towards achieving tangible goals.
With help from the community we learn about local traditions and culture, and respect different world views as we work. CoDA’s goal is to establish trust and create long-term relationships so that community needs are truly met and the outcomes are sustainable.
Ultimately, we value personal relationships and tangible outcomes equally, one cannot happen without the other. We look forward to sharing our lives together over the course of each project and into the future.
Benefits for communities:
- Capacity building and empowerment
- Learn problem solving skills through design thinking process
- Learning how to use design tools, including creative techniques
- Meaningful engagement with other cultures
- Capacity building through design
- Gain new resources to prosper culturally and economically
- Tangible project solutions in the form of products, services or experiences
How it works
Our methodology is based on established design process with a human-centred approach at its core. This means applying collaborative problem solving along with the people who will most benefit from the results.
Design thinking is incredibly powerful. It teaches not only how to define a problem, but also to analyze whether it is the right problem to work on. If your community would simply like to learn more about design thinking, we can organize collaborative workshops to exercise and perfect these skills. This empowers participants to identify and solve their own problems through a sound design process.