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Question #1: Is there a "feedback" loop within the 6 steps to revisit areas you want to co-design?

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

In February, co-founders @Max Hardy and @Anthony Boxshall joined @Lisa Attygalle of the Tamarack Institute for a webinar on The Power of Co-Design. You can see the full event video here by following this link.

We were asked lots of questions by the >100 people in this interactive event – so many that we could not answer them all live. Thank goodness that Tamarack (thanks @Lisa!) kept all the questions and over the coming months, we will answer them. Or join the first Authentic Co-design Quarterly Conversation to chat about your question (more details below…).

So… to the question for this month: Is there a "feedback" loop within the 6 steps to revisit areas you want to co-design?

In short, YES.

While the 6 steps of Authentic Co-design sit on a “virtuous cycle” which feeds back into itself from Step 6 into Step 1, there are many places where a feedback loop can be established.

In fact, we would encourage purposeful feedback loops if there is a desire (or need) to step back into an area to revisit, or a new idea to co-design that has come up in the process.

The only reason we did not add the feedback loops into the original framework diagram is that it would be too busy! Feedback loops can go from pretty much any step to any other step depending on what you need to revisit (or re-create).

Here are some thoughts about common loops…

It might be quite common to go from Steps 2 or 3 back to Step 1 if the internal mandate needs a refresh or a check to ensure that the co-design still has a stickable mandate. The last thing you want to do is find yourself in Step 4 and suddenly find the mandate rug pulled from under you!

Or imagine you are in Step 4 and in the middle of co-designing something, you may wish to loop back to Step 3 to revisit the agreement about exactly what it was we all decided to co-design again. This could be quite common for a deeply technical project, or even a project where the external influences changed outside of the project. Perhaps a pandemic hits and you all want to rescale your expectations about what you can achieve under new working conditions. Or less dramatically the agency has a budgetary change and needs to rescope the plans within the new (hopefully larger!) budget.

We can think of loops from Step 5 to Step 4 if the implementation starts and logistics or other influences intervene (perhaps there is new information about the project) which means further input is needed to tweak the details of the co-design.

There are so many reasons, and places, to loop back with Authentic Co-design. Making the decision to do this will involve your judgement and applying the principles to help you make the call.

Got a question yourself about the application of Authentic Co-design?

We love these kinds of questions from people using Authentic Co-design. So much so that we are providing a free opportunity for anyone who has completed either the Authentic Co-design course or the Introduction to Authentic Co-design course to ask us anything about what you’ve learned.

If you want to find out more email us at

Find out more about the Authentic Co-design courses here.


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