To Co-design or not to Co-design ….. solutions with communities?






There is so much being written about co-design, and talked about, and practiced. Sometimes the name is ‘taken in vain’ (to borrow a term from a book you may have heard about). One of the common questions asked is, ‘How do you know if this is the right kind of issue, problem or opportunity, suited to co-design?’


My colleagues Susan Carter and Anthony Boxshall, and I have been developing a simple tool for helping organisations, groups and individuals to consider the merit of a employing a co-design approach. Basically, the tool involves allocating scores along a continuum in response to a number of questions. The total score will be one that gives an indication of whether co-design would be a useful approach.


Here are some of the questions to be considered.


To what extent ….


… is a proposed solution through a co-design process likely to be implemented or supported?


… are there likely to be a wide range of different ideas/views from different stakeholders/ community members?


… is this opportunity sufficiently important for a wide range of participants to invest time and effort?


… is it likely to be difficult to implement any solution without significant involvement of the community?


… is it unclear what the problem or opportunity involves?


… could this be regarded as a ‘wicked problem’ (ie, most approaches to solving it is likely to create other problems or issues)?


… do people accept that a standard, business as usual, approach is unlikely to deliver an enduring or effective solution?


… is new thinking required to generate new possibilities?


… are ultimate decisionmakers supportive of such a process to find a new solution?


In our self-paced courses we cover many tools and tips to help you navigate these questions, and more, so your co-design project can be a success. Check the courses out here.


It’s a work in progress and I’m wondering whether you would add other questions, or suggest different ways to express these questions.


Over to you!


Max Hardy



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