Co-design in Poland: Project Rainbow
This is a blog which explores what co-design looks like in Poland, examining the specific example of participation in a project involving children with complex needs. I have posted the first part of the Project Rainbow case study below and attached the file with the full text. The Project Rainbow seems to be a prime example of a successful application of the co-design method.
A Polish example of co-design approach to social problems
The Project Rainbow (in Polish ‘Tęcza’) is a Polish innovative social project, initiated in 2012 by The Unit for Social Innovation and Research "the Shipyard” , which involves close and extensive cooperation between children with disabilities (physical but in many cases also mental), their parents, therapists and professional designers. The aim of this cooperation is to better understand the needs of both the children and their therapists in order to design, build and test prototype items (toys and tools) fully customised to their daily lives and disabilities.
The children who attend the rehabilitation center “Rainbow” are the group with special needs, both when it comes to toys, as well as everyday objects and therapeutic accessories. There are virtually no items tailored to their needs on the Polish market. So the therapists must improvise: “In therapy we use toys and items available in the market. We modify them ourselves. We remove small pieces, so that a child cannot swallow them, attach rubber bands, strings, bells” - explains Barbara Wojcik, the Rainbow’s chief therapist.
Such items are not supplied by the market probably due to a relative small target group, very specific requirements they must meet and the general lack of knowledge on the subject. So there is an urgent need to design and construct these kind of items, in order to facilitate the effective rehabilitation of the children and to improve their families’ well-being in broad sense of the term.