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Co-Design Doesn't Need To Be Perfect, Just Get More People Involved

Updated: Apr 22, 2021

Why do you Co-Design?

Some of the reasons I love it are;

  • When you involve the people you care for in the design process, you know that the services you design are what they really need. Not just what you think they might need

  • When you understand what people need, you are more likely to create the right services, saving time and money in the long run

  • You generate ideas that are grounded in research and create engagement and diverse thinking in your teams that are involved

I could go on, but I think you get the idea…

So you may know why you want to use Co-Design, but how can you get started using it in your organisation?  It is important to remember, that whilst there are many tools available, you don’t need to run a full Co-Design project for the tools to be effective. A good way to get started is to simply pick one or use a number of them together to get a better outcome. The most important thing is to get the people you care for, involved in what you are working on.

A few simple ways you can do this are;

  1. Understand their perspective: Gather feedback on your current services or better understand their perspective on a problem you are trying to solve. This is really easy to do, ask open-ended questions about the topic you want to know more about or ask them to tell you a story of a time they experienced the scenario you are trying to understand. The insights you gather will ensure you are better equipped to help them, now that you know more about it from their perspective.

  2. Ask for their ideas: Rather than generating your ideas from inside your organisation, ask the people you care for what ideas they have. This doesn’t need to be a full ideation session like what we would run. You could even ask people “What do you think would solve this problem or make this better?”. This will give you some different ideas that you may not have thought of before.

  3. Test your ideas first: If you do have an idea you want to turn into a service, first create a cheap, quick and easy version of your idea (sketch, video or mock up) and get feedback from future potential service users. You’ll be amazed at what you will learn. After this has been completed tweak your idea based on the feedback. It’ll give you a much better chance of ensuring it meets their needs when you do eventually bring it to life.

As you can see, you don't need to run a whole Co-Design project in order to Co-design. You can use individual elements from the process and it will still give you a better result. Sometimes when getting started, this is a much easier approach than trying to complete a whole project yourself. Once you achieve a few wins from using this approach, communicate them and use the results as a case to run a Co-design project next time.

So what is the difference between running a project yourself versus involving us? The main reason people continue to get us involved in their projects is for our expertise and the time this saves you.  Not just the actual time we spend working on your project and the amount of time it takes to put a co-design project together, but the many years of building our skills and knowledge mean we can quickly advise how to approach a situation for the best outcome. Every scenario is different but there are some things you learn along the way that work better than others. This is where we can help. Also, our involvement can be as big or as small as your project needs.

We always encourage to give it ago, because involving your stakeholders is always a better outcome than not involving them at all.

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