Are you ready for co-design?

Co-design Tool | Plan

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.