Co-design enables consumers to become equal partners in the improvement process for health services. This toolkit is a practical resource for health services to adopt a co-design approach.
What is co-design?
There are many definitions and opinions on co-design. Don’t let definitions turn you off – they can help you think of co-design as just another way of working based on the following principles:
- There is an equal and reciprocal relationship between all stakeholders, enabling them to design and deliver services in partnership with one another.
- Planning, designing and producing services with people that have experience of the problem or service means the final solution is more likely to meet their needs.
- This way of working demonstrates a shift from seeking involvement or participation after an agenda has already been set, to seeking consumer and clinician leadership from the outset so that consumers and clinicians are involved in defining the problem and designing the solution.
When you officially embark on co-design, you may find you have already been doing a lot of this for some time.
Co-design typically occurs in a staged approach that uses different methods to understand the experiences of people receiving and delivering particular services. This is followed by consumers and health professionals solving problems and designing and testing improvements collaboratively and sharing in decision making.