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Four Resources on Co-Design for the Australian Context

3 minutes of reading

Co-design (also known as participatory design) is an approach that involves all stakeholders in the design process. Co-design ensures that results meet their needs. In this fast-moving world, where issues are becoming more complex, co-design helps in finding solutions that meet stakeholder needs.

Co-design has become more relevant in government decision making. Co-design is a narrative method of creatively engaging citizens and stakeholders to collectively find solutions to complex problems. Co-design holds great promise for policymakers and political leaders. Australia’s second Open Government National Action Plan has elements of co-design to improve transparency and public participation.

Here are four key resources on co-design: the process, benefits, and implementation for different industries and sectors.

  1. Beyond Sticky Notes – Kelly Ann McKercher

Beyond Sticky Notes is a book written by Kelly Ann McKercher, a designer and writer working on design-led social innovation. The book explains, in detail, the mindsets, methods, and social movements of co-design. It is a useful resource for anyone new to the concept and it identifies four principles that guide the process: share power, prioritize relationships, use participatory means, and build capacity.

  1. Human-centered design playbook – Innovation Branch of Victorian State Government

Human-centered design playbook is a toolkit exclusively for public servants who are designing, procuring, or managing human-centred design projects. This book, unlike many others, was written for the context of the Victorian public sector. The playbook gives a structured approach, with case studies, for different steps in a human-centred design projects like scoping and planning or working with an external agency.

  1. Experience Based Co-design Toolkit – Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association and Consumers Forum of Australia

Experience-based co-design was developed in partnership with the Australian Healthcare and Hospitals Association (AHHA) and Consumers Health Forum (CHF). The resource is aimed to equip health sector departments and professionals to deliver an improved recovery experience. In doing so, the approach not only improves the experience of patients but also of the workforce. If any organisation requires additional resources to undertake co-design, AHHA has an experienced team to support and guide through the process.

  1. Connect with Me (co-design toolkit) – Government of Western Australia and People with disabilities Western Australia

Connect with Me is a co-design toolkit focusing on people with disability and services provided to them. The toolkit details directions on how to successfully engage, connect and co-design with people with disability. The objective is to improve the peoples’ experiences of services and the service themselves. The toolkit houses resources like route maps, stakeholder needs frameworks and tools for change management.

The Australian government is also working on implementing co-design to engage more citizen participation in policymaking, to better respond to needs at an individual level.

Interested in knowing more about this approach by the Australian Government?  On the 19th of May 2021, GovComms Institute (GCI) will be hosting a virtual panel discussion for the Open Government Partnership’s (OGP) Open Government Week (OGW) event. The panel will comprise of local and international experts across government and the private sector, responding to the question: “What are the best ways for the Australian Government to approach ‘co-design to enable greater citizen participation in decision making?”

The event will be delivered virtually via Hopin on 19 May 2021 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM (AEST). Attendees can dial in from remote locations to listen to different industry perspectives from the speakers and even participate in a live networking session.

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