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Ready, Steady, Co-design

“Where do we start?” This is one of the most common questions we hear from people in organisations thinking about co-design. Getting started or getting ready can be the hardest challenge for organisations thinking about co-design. That’s why ‘readiness’ is an important concept and why the first step of any co-design process is about organisational readiness.

Recently, we were discussing ‘readiness’ with a group of Local Government representatives. During the conversation we were discussing what ‘readiness’ might look like so we would know the right place to start with each organisation.

This is how we described behaviour in an organisation if they were more ready to back a co-design process. Ready organisations can:

  • Commit to principles of co-design

  • Be unified and able to commit to the process.

  • Be clear about the ‘design question’ they want a co-designed response to.

  • Learn and expect to learn.

  • See diverse range of community members as an ‘asset’ to the process.

  • See co-design with this community as aligning with vision, strategies and/or objectives

But what if your organisation isn’t showcasing all of these behaviours? How do you begin building support with your colleagues and leadership team? Firstly, it’s important to recognise it won’t be easy, and you will need to be respectfully persistent.

Secondly, it’s really important to do some research and understand where your organisation and the key people in your organisation fall in the readiness scale. Here is a quick research project to get you started thinking about how to mobilise your organisation, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How well does co-design align with your organisational vision, policy and/or strategy?

  • Is there a trusted, influential leader willing to sponsor a co-design process?

  • Do you have, or can you build, a network of colleagues willing to support a co-design process?

  • To what extent do you believe the outcomes of a co-design process would be seriously considered or actioned?

  • What staffing time might they be prepared to devote to the co-design process?

Writing down your answers to each of these questions can help you focus on the areas that need to be addressed and prepare a plan on how to boost these areas to give yourself the best chance of starting a successful co-design process and seeing it through to implementation.

So, what are you waiting for?!

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