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Building Co-Design Into Your Day To Day

While we all agree that creativity and collaboration are good, not everyone is in agreement on what they look like in practice, or the best way to support them. At Impacto, when we talk about innovation, we are referring to person-centered innovation. So, how do you create an organisation that’s collaborative and person-centered at its core, not just running the occasional person-centred innovation project?

In an effort to become more innovative and impactful, we are seeing more and more organisations moving in the direction of becoming person-centered in their work, being able to collaborate effectively is a long-term capability that we need to start building capacity for.

Currently, a lot of leaders when they are solving problems, are bringing in consultants like us to help them. And whilst there's obviously nothing wrong with that, more and more senior leaders are now looking at how they can also start building that capability internally, so that they only need to bring in consultants when it's a really big and complex problem that they are not able to solve themselves. Which is a much more sustainable option.

The future is full of Person-Centered Organisations, not Project-Centered Organisations. In the future we believe all organisations will have this capability, and that they will have processes and structures set up so that they can continuously build their understanding of what their clients require.

So, knowing this, what's the best way forward from here? How do you create an organisation that is Person-Centered in how it works?


The first step is to build capability, delivering training to your employees so that they can learn the skills involved in being consultative, adding the client's voice, and incorporating this as part of their job. If your people are empowered and have these skills, they'll be able to go out on a daily basis and use this toolkit to collaboratively solve problems. If everyone in your organisation has a basic understanding of co-design or some other type of innovation approach, that means they'll start thinking about how to deal with particular difficulties by using that, and they will notice when these opportunities arise.


Once you have equipped individuals with the skills and capacities to recognise opportunities to do things differently, to cooperate across the organisation and bring that change to fruition. Next, you need the structures, supports, and culture in place to support that way of working. If you look at your organisation as a complete system, if you want to create person-centred innovation what are the parts of that system in place currently that you will need to change to get a different output? Does your culture provide a safe space for people to test out new ideas and share the learning across the organisation? Do you have the adjacent tools in place to make it easier for people to collaborate? Do you make it easy for people to access clients that are willing to provide feedback or be involved in co-design projects?


What about the feedback that staff receive on a regular basis as a result of their interaction with clients? Do you offer them the opportunity to gather that information and begin working on improvements to resolve what we're hearing from your clients all the time? Are you thinking about how to get your clients more involved in the process? There’s undoubtedly a lot of data moving around in your organisation already, so the next step is to collate it, learn from the information and then implement changes to continuously improve.

Even though a lot of organisations had suggestion boxes in the late 90’s when it was just shoe boxes wrapped in paper with a hole in the top, the basic premise is still really valuable. Gathering insights, not just from unhappy people, but also from happy clients and collecting all of this information, will help you recognise those positive moments that are truly important to your clients and amplify those as well.

The important thing to remember about any of these processes is that they work best when you make them a part of how you work all the time rather than adding in extra work and projects on top of your day to day activities. They're routine processes, as if you're putting together a system. Organisations that embed this into their culture and make it sustainable, are able to establish a system that just works and delivers more impact in the areas that matter.

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