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Is Your Initiative Well-Suited for Co-Design?

This guide is built on practice, designed for people who are actively applying these principles within their work. These reflective exercises provide space to exercise co-design concepts, to appreciate prior successes and failures, and adapt proactively.

FROM PRINCIPLE TO PRACTICE

For the following statements, think about your own work and how you may have relied on co-design, but by another name. How might you already be familiar with some of these concepts and approaches? Does this make you feel more or less ready to take on co-design? Think about how learning more could shift the way you co-design.

This is not a form: Your responses below are for your own reflection and will not be submitted or saved here. Use the text boxes or print the worksheet to sketch out your answers.

I co-design by…

I want to co-design by…

I co-design by…

I want to co-design by…

I co-design by…

I want to co-design by…

I co-design by…

I want to co-design by…

I feel (ready / not ready) to take on co-design because…

Reminder: If you’d like to save your answers, copy/paste them to your computer or write them on a printed worksheet.

Download worksheet

FROM THE MODULE: WHAT IS CO-DESIGN, AND ARE YOU READY TO DO IT?

Co-design draws inspiration from the fields of human-centered design, community organizing, and citizen engagement. It is a method of developing products, initiatives, and strategies directly with eventual users and the partners and staff who will be tasked with their delivery.

By enabling stakeholders to define problems and the approaches to them, co-design reveals otherwise unknowable paths. It evokes user experiences, addresses the motivations of partners, and considers all the operational details of implementers’ daily work that can make (or break) an initiative. With these perspectives in the room, co-design increases the sustainability of final solutions by designing for people’s actual needs and preferences, and increasing implementers’ investment and ability to successfully execute.

Before jumping in, think through how ready you feel to tackle a problem with an approach like this.

  • Are you leveraging co-design for a clear reason?
  • Is the issue messy enough for co-design?
  • Is the issue addressable through co-design?
  • Can you follow through? Are you prepared to cede some amount of decision making authority

Want a quick refresher on the theory? Check out the whole argument here.