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Creative methods Creative platforms Creative solutions Digital (dis)connectedness The Co-Well project

Results from the Co-Well ‘co-creation at a distance’ meeting


The 29th of September 2020, we organized an active on-line meet-up to collaboratively explore new co-creative methods for well-being in the new ‘distant’ society using digital tools.

The 20 participants involved in the different interdisciplinary fields of health & well-being, creative & digital industry, and user research explored the challenges they as a professional, and organization are facing and the new possibilities new participatory and digital methods for well-being can offer.


With the Corona pandemic, physical, social and mental well-being are under pressure. Vulnerable groups in particular run the risk of being digitally excluded. The creative digital professional field aims to seek digital human-centered solutions and bridge physical distances. Especially now that face-to-face user research and co-creation is difficult in the new distant pandemic society.

In the meet-up we explored new co-creative methods that are needed for designing user-centered digital solutions enabling happy and healthy living for vulnerable groups during social isolation situations such as this pandemic.

Co-Well Professional

We are forming ‘Co-Well Professional: Connected Creative for Well-being’ a new research initiative and consortium enabling to collectively create, study and share new insights, best practices and co-creative methods for well-being from a distance using digital tools. To further define our research area and to form our consortium, we organized this active online meetup, in which together we could share the professional challenges we are facing in supporting well-being from a distance and explore how we can solve these with creative and digital tools.


If you and your organization would also like to take part in our co-creative research for well-being (and funding proposal)- please do not hesitate to contact us and or please fill in this questionnaire.


  • Co-Creation for Well-being: Sharing best practices and insights
  • Identify issues and common grounds
  • Define research agenda new research proposal – Co-Well professional: Connected Creative for Well-being
  • Collaborate & form consortium
  • Discuss & learn from each others’ perspective – focus on the professional engaged in people-centered design research


13:00-15:00 Co-Well meeting

13:00-13:05 Getting started

Please mute, etc.

13:05-13:15 Welcome & Introduction

Presentation dr Marije Kanis, AUAS, Digital life centre

13:15-13:30 Questions & short introductions from all present

13:30-13:50 Questionnaire (& music break)

Please fill in the survey -thank you!


We compiled a list of songs especially suited to the theme for your inspiration. Please enjoy!

13:50-14:00 General findings and discussion using Miro-online visual collaboration software

14:50-15:00 Wrap up -Take aways


It was a very interesting meeting in which we explored and shared new ways of doing research, being connected, creative, inclusive and happy in the new ‘distant’ society. The combined use of Powerpoint, YouTube, Spotify, Ms Teams, Chat, Qualtrics and Miro to shape our remote meet-up posed a bigger challenge than the regular on-line meeting, but the connected experience was worth it!

It was very insightful to learn from each others’ perspective and seek new solutions for lots of problems mainly due the lack of physical presence (and so overall loss of spontaneity, creativity, interaction, lack of trust, privacy and participatory issues) -which are still difficult to overcome.

Questions from the creative professionals

Questions that were posted among the creative professionals were for example:

  • How can we come to novel approach and platform that better suits the needs of people with different vulnerabilities and their beloved ones? -Social interaction designer
  • The physical, tactile aspect is an important part of our work. Now it is hard to be creative over distance. How can we do this… How can we deploy digital tools? -Social designer
  • How to do qualitative research digitally/on-line? How to address privacy problems? -Data steward
  • What supports implementation (and what not)? This is a wicked problem with many interacting aspects and layers. We need to look at culture, financing structures, skills, collaboration… mutual understanding, speaking each others language is important, so making sure that all relevant parties are present. -E-Health innovator

  • We should all make the effort to be able to have physical encounters. Any digital encounters needs to strengthen and emphasize human behavior and needs. How that looks? -Interaction designer & policy maker

Problems and solutions

  • Problems: establishing a trusting relationship with clients and participants for research is more difficult – establishing a good overview of the problem situation and setting is more difficult when you cannot be on location.

  • Difficulties: (1) Conducting face-to-face research, being on location (2) organizations have other priorities/ some projects were put on hold  (3) Coming up with alternative research methods to involve vulnerable groups (4) missing non-verbal cues when collecting data – Researcher Technology for Elderly people
  • “I have barriers for deploying new technology like the Miro board. I recognize this in care facilities, we have to make this work and relate to the forms that they are used to.” -Health & Technology Researcher

  • “The problem is the lack of serendipity and creativity when on-line working. The solution: ” I switched to meetings in person.” -Professor Human Computer Interaction

  • “In general the Corona crisis has influenced the urgency for introducing remote solutions for health and care by healthcare providers. My daily practice has to do with e.g. the study of eHealth solutions that are being developed e.g. in co-creation with healthcare professionals and elderly. Our eHealth implementation projects have been affected as we currently cannot directly sit with professionals and elderly end users to discuss eHealth applications, adoption, implementation, etc. The same holds for the eHealth providers/ SMEs and researchers in the project. We have moved to online solutions, meetings, which make it harder to get a good feel of developments on site. On the other hand, it is good to be able to continue project activities.[..]
  • I prefer to think from a needs perspective, to decide what is needed and how to tackle it in a creative (online) manner. I think it is not so much new technical tools, as well the organization and collaboration that is key. -E-Health innovator
  • A study done by the University of Utrecht indicated that in this first phase of remote digital working, the participants tended to go back into familiar structures and patterns, making it all the more difficult to implement innovation, co-creation and change. So how can we do this?
screenshot studie UU: thuiswerken maar minder co-creatief.
Screenshot van resultaten van studie van Universiteit Utrecht: Thuiswerken beperkt de transformatie van de organisatie; maakt minder co-creatief

Results from the on-line collaborative discussion

More detailed results are yet to be posted. Still, the meeting generated a lot of constructive and positive feedback for future collaborative endeavors in the new distant ‘normal’.

  • “It was interesting to see how other researchers deal with this new situation and the opportunities it gives us. It gives us inspiration on how to deal with new ways of co-creation.” – Human Centered Design Researcher

Conclusion and next future steps

  • “For me it offered a very good image of the process of co-creating from start up to a deliverable “- program manager Amsterdam Creative Industry Network

  • “Love to take this to the next step, making prototypes, especially if we are talking wearables and robots, etc.” – Lecturer / Digital designer
  • “Looking forward to the best practices that are yet to come!” – Health & Technology Researcher

We are still learning by doing and the challenges to fully interactively engage everyone co-creatively and digitally over distance still remains. We are actively shaping forward and are indeed looking forward to the best practices that are yet to come!