Start up and engage

What is involved?

This phase is about setting up for success and clarifying the problem or opportunity that you are trying to solve.

As a co-design project, consumers and health service staff will be working together from the start. There are some key steps you will build into your approach to ensure your project is set up for partnering.

Like any successful project, co-design projects require planning and project management to ensure initiatives deliver better care, have strong sponsorship, are sustainable and are integrated into the system. ACI redesign methodology covers the key steps for initiating a project.


From the start of your project, it will be important to determine how and when work will get done. Flexibility is key! Work around the availability of all project team members.  The time given will be voluntary and/or will need to fit in with work schedules.

If the time required from team members is planned, this will lead to greater engagement, progress and ultimately successful partnerships.

How: key steps

  • Create your case for change – establish your goals, objectives and benefits.
  • Tip - We can often become very attached to what we think is the problem that needs solving. Check you are on the right path by sharing your thinking with some stakeholders for feedback. In particular, the problem perceived by health staff can be different to the problem perceived by consumers – it is important to keep circling back and checking.

Who is involved?

Your project may be a planned health initiative, or an opportunity identified through consumer feedback, patient experience data, a clinical quality and safety improvement activity or National Standard evidence gaps.

The project initiator, owner or lead will get things started. Remember, for co-design, a project should be led by a consumer and health service representative. The co-leads will work together at this (and every stage) of the project.

Read more about the co-design team.


For inspiration on working collaboratively at this phase of your project, take a look at Collaborative Pairs Australia.

Key challenges and ideas to address them

Challenging assumptionsBalancing powerTransparencyValuing diversity and individuality

Considering roles and responsibilities and appropriate levels of participation? Read more about getting set up for partnering.

Working with Aboriginal communities

Refer to our guide on how to apply the 8 Aboriginal Ways of Learning in your co-design project.

Community linksLand linksLearning maps

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