What is involved?

This phase is about making sense of the information you have gathered and identifying key insights and opportunities to improve.


Expect this stage to be messy and uncertain and get comfortable with that. Challenge assumptions and perspectives and check that you aren’t finding solutions before you’ve understood the root cause of the problem.

How: key steps

  • As a team, discuss your findings and what you uncovered – what are the themes; what does the information tell you; how can you map it out?

  • Identify and prioritise key issues and reframe your problem.
  • Tip At this point, some early ideas may start to arise – try to avoid deciding on a solution too soon! Start recording the solutions that innately arise in this phase – keep them ready for later.

  • Check back with the people who use and deliver the service – do your findings represent their experience and priorities?
  • Tip Consumer and clinical engagement are valuable practices; if you stray off track from the needs of the ‘end user’ the project may not meet its goals.

Who is involved?

Everyone who participated in the gather phase comes together to collectively share the information they have collected.

As a team, decide and appoint roles. Identify who will facilitate the analysis and summary of the information, and who will be responsible for creating any outputs (e.g. reports, presentations and tools for design, such as those in the resource list below).

Once you have summarised the findings, decide who will share this back with consumers and staff who shared their experience.

Read more about the co-design team.


Existing experience-based co-design toolkits provide step-by-step guidance on running these feedback sessions.

Key challenges and ideas to address them

CuriosityResponsivenessCommunicationSetting expectations

Working with Aboriginal communities

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

Land linksLearning mapsStory sharingDeconstruct reconstructNon-linearSymbols and images

Useful resources

See our tools and resources to support the Understand phase.

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