The concept of Participatory Design emerged from Scandinavia in the 70ies, when increasing demand for democratization of workplaces and empowerment of workers led to their inclusion in decision-making processes, in regards to the design of their workspace and working tools.
Similar developments shaped practices of Co(-operational) design in the United States.
Nowadays, both traditions inform Co-create methodologies, which are used in a range of fields from software and product design, to urban design, landscaping and architecture, sustainability, etc.
In a nutshell, the Participatory/Co-Design methodology consists of the inclusion of stakeholders in the design process. In the research stage, designers aim at understanding the shared values (trust; safety; usability; aesthetics; gender; the list of examples is endless, following the range of diverse stakeholders) in regards to the object/application/space in question. In the application phase, designers’ task is to “translate” these values into design features.