Project Description

Danny Spitzberg

Lead Researcher, Turning Basin Labs

Danny Spitzberg is a user researcher for a co-operative economy. He is currently developing a model for worker-led research with, a staffing and training co-op.

Speaking at the conference

Monday, September 27, 10:05-10:50 am PST

Who Leads in Co-Design? Following Ridehail Drivers to File 5,600 Wage Claims

No matter who initiates a design process, the question of leadership matters most – for outcomes as well as for lasting capacity. In 2019 I began a year-long co-design effort to help California ridehail drivers file wage claims. While the project started by a group of volunteer designers and researchers I organized, its leadership transitioned to the ridehail drivers themselves. By the end, we reduced the process of filing a wage claim from a two-hour, in-person effort with a legal aid worker, down to 15 minutes with a simple web app. With this tool in hand, drivers filed 5,600 wage claims and triggered a $1.3b lawsuit against the companies they worked for. This presentation outlines the key points along the way that enabled our group to follow driver leadership, including leveraging networks of drivers seeking to support one another under the COVID-19 pandemic and recession. Specifically, I highlight three broad dimensions for pivoting to participant leadership: theories about the situation, informed consent for collaboration, and roles designing the tools themselves. This story is especially relevant for research and design work in the face of burdened, conflicted, or captured government services.

Key Takeaways:

  • Co-design’s positive reputation comes from a few cases in which participants lead the process.
  • Leadership transition requires participant theory, consent, and hands-on roles.
  • Participant leadership brought to its logical end looks like ownership of the outcomes.
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