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Reflections on the National Women’s Safety Summit: Co-design can make a difference

Updated: Sep 24, 2021

Here at Authentic Co-design we often look around at issues in the news and what is being discussed in Governments and corporations. In Australia over the few years, women’s safety is one of those topics often in the news (unfortunately often for the wrong reasons).

Last week in Australia there was a National Summit on Women’s Safety in which women from across the country came together to have input into the next National Action Plan on Women’s Safety in Australia. A huge and important piece of collaborative work.

The delegates came from across Australia and included some new voices not always heard in this debate. A final statement from the delegates is available online which contains the delegates’ priorities for the next National Plan. This is essential reading for all of us interested in increasing the safety of women in Australia but is also of interest to practitioners of co-design and collaborative approaches.

While this post discusses the summit approach and opportunities for co-design approaches to be used from here, we want to highlight the important and essential experience of the delegates in shaping what happens from here. Their work is compelling and must lead to real action for increasing the safety of women and girls in Australia. It is important not to lose sight of that when delving into the process.

Moving forward, there is so much opportunity for the use of co-design approaches in building a National Plan that can really make an impact. Depending on how the delegates priorities are used in shaping the next National Plan, the fact that women and girls from across a country (demography, experience, culture, roles etc) came together to highlight a set of priorities alone is a strong start to co-designing a program of change.

In the document containing delegates priorities, there are a number of calls for ‘working together’ and even one call for co-designing quality services available to ‘people living in regional, rural, remote and very remote areas…’. All are places in which co-designing solutions are called for, and more likely to lead to outcomes aligned with needs of those requesting the services. These in turn are services that will be more likely to be used and hence make a difference.

There is genuine power in co-design approaches for making a difference when it comes to important roles that Government (in this case) plays in service delivery for people. Governments (or corporations) working on hard and essential issues are to be applauded when they work with people to find solutions. Here at Authentic Co-design we see the power of co-design for making a difference in the hard and important role that Governments play in addressing important issues.

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