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Co-design – deciding together

When you use co-design, you share decision making equally throughout the process. This means everyone taking part has an equal level of power. On this page, learn more about the method, and key things to consider when using it.

What does co-design mean?

In co-design, people with the relevant skills and experience come together to create a product, like training materials, information booklets, a new service, organisational policies, or service specifications.

People with lived experience do research with staff to understand what's needed from a project. During research,  additional influence and participation methods might be used to understand what people with lived experience need and want. Sometimes you'll use a service design method to do this.

Those involved will then draft or design the final product. The group needs to agree on it before final sign off takes place.

In this method, people who participate in the co-design get involved in delivering the product. This method works well when delivery needs to stay the responsibility of the organisation.

Things to consider

  • Is it possible for decision making to be shared equally between all group members?
  • Do you have a fixed 'product', like a service specification, information booklet or training, that you need to develop but deliver yourself?
  • How will you train and support those taking part? Does your budget cover these costs?
  • Co-design needs to take place over a series of meetings, including time for research and development. Do you have enough time for the process to take place meaningfully?

We've used the term product to describe the written or creative work a co-design group produces. We've used this term because the result is defined by the group.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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