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Co-Design – Deciding Together

When a co-design method is used decision making is shared equally throughout the process, everyone taking part has an equal level of power within the process. The method consists of people with the relevant skills and experience coming together to create a tangible ‘product’*. Examples of this include training materials, information booklets, a new service, organisational polices and service specifications.

People with lived experience work with staff to carry out research in order understand what is required for the project, this usually involves using additional Influence and Participation methods to gain a deeper understanding of what people with lived experience need and want; sometimes a Service Design methodology is used to give this structure. Work is then carried out by those involved to draft or design the ‘product’ that is required. The group need to be in agreement for final sign off to be agreed. 

The organisation requesting the ‘product’ are responsible for all aspects of delivery, those who took part in the co-design process do not get involved in any aspect of delivery. This method works well when delivery needs to remain the responsibility of the organisation.

Things to consider:

  • Can decision making be shared equally with all group members?
  • Do you have a fixed 'product' e.g. Service specification, information booklet, training that you need developing but will 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 work to take place. Can you allocate enough time for the process to meaningfully take place?

*The term product has been used as a term to describe the written or creative work a co-design group produce, we have used this term as the end result is defined by the group. 

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