What is Co-Design?
Benefits of Co-Design
- Generation of better ideas with a high degree of originality and user value.
- Identify multiple solutions to problems that can be adapted into tailored interventions and responses.
- Improved knowledge of the needs of people experiencing the issue.
- Immediate validation of unique ideas or concepts.
- Higher quality and more credible outcomes.
- More efficient and effective decision making.
- Lower development costs and reduced development time.
- Better cooperation between different people or organisations, and across disciplines.
- Through engaging end users early on, implementation issues can be integrated into policy design and help mitigate problems before they emerge.
- Evidence-based understanding that can lead to the development of real time data, which can be integrated directly into decision processes.
- The risks of policy failure are shared with citizens and stakeholders.
“Somewhere along the way people who have experienced homelessness went through something quite horrific, we struggle with it, but we persevere. People and the system have abandoned us and can treat us appallingly. The drugs or alcohol may have been the only escape from the hurt, the only way we could sleep.
Unless you have experienced it, you can’t imagine just how unimaginably cold, terrifying, dangerous and lonely it is when you’re out there. Many people can’t cope and take their own lives to escape and sleep.
Whilst this makes us survivors colder and tough, un-trusting, sometimes a bit over-bearing or even scary, most of the time it is just self-defence because of what we have gone through. All we need is love and respect.
Some of the most resilient, generous, caring, and inspiring people are homeless or have been homeless. You will never get people more passionate in helping find solutions Treat people like you would want to be treated and they will surprise you. Only by partnering together will we ever end the cycle of homelessness.”
– HOME Lived Experience Advocate
The Conditions for Co-Design
Co-design cannot happen in isolation, but requires a focus on the conditions:
- Willingness to act on new learnings: Co-design should only be used when there is an appetite and readiness to take action on lessons and change.
- Leadership support: The success depends on leaders in supporting an open-ended design process and supporting the changes that come from it.
- Time carved out: Staff need to be allocated time to participate in co-design.
- Diversity of people: People with lived experience and staff from various backgrounds and all levels are required.
- Optimism from leadership: In co-design, groups ideate many concepts that may not work, and then test these ideas. This process works best when leaders are optimistic throughout.
- Open-mindedness: When we hold back snap-judgements and listen with an open mind, we can discover new insights.
- Knowledge sharing throughout an organisation or system: Leaders should enable ideas and knowledge to be accessible to everyone.
- Distributed leadership and power: Focus on the empowerment of all-involved by enabling them to be part of decisions and changes.
Co-Design v Co-Production
Keeping Co-Design On-Track