Before committing to co-design here a few questions to ask yourself, your team and allies:
Are we the right people to lead a co-design project on this subject?
- In some cases, it may be better to support others in doing co-design work than running it yourself?
- Who is closest to the topic?
- Where should the knowledge and power create live once this project ends?
What diverse people with differing backgrounds and skills do you need to be involved — do you know them?
- If you don’t have strong relationships or partnerships you might need to start by building those connections before you launch into ‘work’.
- Who could you partner with or learn from before you start?
Is your co-design group open and ready to collaborate?
- If that’s a no, what can you do to change that? Ask them what they might need
- How can you build-up relationships?
- Do people need priming, training, counselling or support? Something else?
Are you prepared to provide support for people so they can participate fully?
- How can you make sure knowledge is shared?
- How can you make activities and language clear?
- How can you make activities accessible to all?
Will people with lived experience play a central role in the design and decision-making process?
- How will you make sure people with lived experience are treated as experts in your project?
- How will you create spaces that treat lived experience with care and respect?
Does your project have the support and investment needed to be successful?
- Will your organisation dedicate the time, resources and energy to collaborate deeply in your co-design project?
- How will the team lead or facilitator be supported throughout the project?
Can you share back the knowledge you gain with everyone involved?
- Will the people who participate get access to what they have made?
- Is there a way to share ownership or give credit to their contribution?
- Do you need to create multiple designs so they are accessible to all?
Do you see the potential for co-producing with this group or community afterwards?
- Can this project feed into something bigger so the trust you build isn’t lost?
- What could you do to create a regenerative culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable?
Can you build in reciprocity and regeneration into your project work?
- What could you do to make sure everyone get something from participating?
- Could you share skills? Reimbursement, co-ownership of the output or receive recognition?
One of my most cited and shared articles is The Barriers and Enablers of Co-design for Services by Antti Pirinen from 2016.