Codesign… the secret to building agreement and action

So what is codesign, other than the buzzword everyone is using? And how exactly does codesign fit into engagement?

Picture this. You’re designing a new transport solution. Everyone knows we need to do it, but no one agrees on the best way to achieve it.

Everyone agrees we need to cut the gridlock and improve public transport use, but  no one agrees how.

Everyone is frustrated. But no one knows how to move beyond the stalemate.

You used to think you had a solution, but the more you promote it, the less support it’s getting.

This is exactly the time you need to Codesign.

What is codesign, exactly?

Codesign (or participatory design) is NOT just your stock standard community or stakeholder engagement. It’s a set of behaviours, a set process of steps, and a set of clear deliverables. It relies on co-designing (and defining) the problem as well as the solution.

Codesigning engagement strategies

In our work, co-designing engagement strategies has led to incredible breakthroughs like:

  • Saving $20million in annual costs for a single process, which was redesigned by the different users
  • Agreeing to a new funding model for an industry sector, overturning a decades-old model that was unsustainable
  • Radical innovations in how companies and organisations operate. This increased efficiencies and redesigned their processes in infrastructure, health, asset maintenance, housing, ICT and employment programs.

We’ve developed a 6-stage co-design framework that helps us get to great outcomes in engagement.

Top tips for effective codesign

1 Do differently

If you’re codesigning then you’re looking for a new solution. So you need to solve things differently. You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect a different solution.

2. People will solve a problem if they agree the problem

This is critical to your early codesign phase. It builds trust and buy-in with all your stakeholders, especially those who are most affected.

3. Co-implementation

This overcomes the fatal error of having “all care, no responsibility”.

4. Neutrality

Have an independent facilitator to help codesign parties. This helps participants find a neutral place to agree.

5. Resolve disagreement

Be comfortable during disagreements and work toward resolution. Avoiding disagreements will only delay the process.

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