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Participatory design for healthcare

How does it work?

Through participatory design a wide range of people from different fields/background are involved in the design process, becoming creators, not only users of innovation. This approach takes into consideration everyone’s experience and helps ensure that the result is appropriate to the users’ needs as it considers every aspect of his/her disability.

Our method in 8 steps

In our case, patients, their families, healthcare professionals and designers are involved in the co-design process as experts in their specific environments, together with makers, who are experts in the use of digital fabrication tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, and so on.

See below the 8 steps we’ve identified to better understand the process behind the making of a Careable


Listen and observe

Co-design means creating a space where all opinions, competences and experiences count and are useful, it means to enact a process based on listening.

Careables Training Kit


Teach and learn

We are all experts in something and reciprocal training is fundamental: doctors, designers and individuals with disabilities, experts in their condition, sharing knowledge and competences, intersecting them.

Patients Advocacy Toolkit


Speak the same language

Break down the wall of anglicisms and technical jargon, in favor of a common language that everyone can understand.


Share real needs

The goal is to solve a real need, no matter how small or big, what really matters is focusing on the reason. The “how” comes after.

3D printing for healthcare


Think and design together

Moments of sharing, exchange and collective design guide the group towards the final idea, stimulating everyone’s creativity when it comes to devising new and innovative solutions able to address real needs.

Healthcare co-design


Materialise the idea

The production of a first prototype allows us, thanks to software, digital fabrication technologies and rapid prototyping, to touch, explore, and test the idea. And last but not least, customize it.

Personalising prosthetics


Prototype, prototype

The prototyping phase is a spiral process in which projects improve by increasing versions, and through continuous dialogue on how to perfect the object.


Replicate, scale and share

A well designed project on its own could be useful and replicated to also respond to others’ needs. Here is where the value of the open source philosophy comes into play: sharing the process and the final solution is a way to enrich the project and to amplify its social impact.

Documentation guide

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