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Co-Design – Deciding Together

When you use a co-design method, decision making is shared equally throughout the process - everyone taking part has an equal level of power. This method consists of people with the relevant skills and experience coming together to create a tangible ‘product’* such as training materials, information booklets, a new service, organisational policies, and service specifications.

People with lived experience conduct research with staff to facilitate understanding of the requirements for the project. Research usually involves using additional Influence and Participation methods to understand 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 needs to be in agreement before the final sign off takes place.

In this method, people who participate in the co-design do get involved in the delivery of the 'product'. This method works well when delivery needs to remain 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', e.g., service specification, information booklet, and 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 any research and development work required. Can you allocate enough time for the process to take place meaningfully?

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

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