To Co-design or not to Co-design ….. solutions with communities?

May 30, 2022 |

There is so much being written about co-design, and talked about, and practiced. Sometimes the name is ‘taken in vain’ (to borrow a term from a book you may have heard about). One of the common questions asked is, ‘How do you know if this is the right kind of issue, problem or opportunity, suited…

Scoping under the microscope

March 16, 2022 |

I’ve been wanting to blog about how we can better scope and define projects for quite some time, especially for authentic co-design. Now we have a tool to move beyond the binary negotiable/non-negotiable approach in project development I couldn’t resist any longer.  We all know it’s handy when engaging the community, to differentiate between project…

People get ready, there’s a train a-coming’ …

May 4, 2021 |

Thoughts about readiness to codesign No doubt you’ve heard the song (I admit my favourite version is Eva Cassidy’s). Readiness is something we are acutely aware of when organisations approach us to do codesign or a deliberative engagement process for a complex issue. In recent months I’ve been working with many Councils, mostly keen to…


Common objections to committing to collaborative (co-design or deliberative) engagement processes

September 30, 2020 |

We know not all projects require, or are appropriate, for co-design (to find out when this is appropriate check this blog and short video). But let’s imagine your situation ticks all the boxes. You have a complex, even a potentially controversial project, and there is quite a lot of uncertainty about the best way forward.…

How safe is it to participate?

July 27, 2020 |

Something we don’t discuss much is the importance of the ‘do no harm’ principle when engaging the community (especially relevant now with the Covid-19 pandemic). Anthony Boxshall and I identified ‘people feeling unsafe’ as one of the key challenges to co-design. We rely on bringing together a diverse community of interest, but what do you…

What is your approach to consulting? And… which one best works for co-designing solutions with the community?

July 6, 2020 |

I’ve been consulting for 23 years, and I think I’ve settled on the consulting approach that works for me. When I say ‘approach’ what I mean is how we work with our clients. I’ve reduced it, somewhat simplistically, to three types of approaches. Read on to find out more about these approaches.

Getting the ball rolling on co-design

June 19, 2020 |

Getting started is often one of the hardest challenges for organisations willing to co-design solutions to complex problems with the community, especially where trust is low. Let’s consider some of the assumptions behind the reluctance of the community to become involved. For highly controversial projects, such as Murray-Darling Basin Plan, active members, or the hyper-engaged,…

authentic co-design

Turning around an inauthentic co-design process

May 27, 2020 |

Having a definition is one thing; doing it well, or authentically, is something else again. We outlined five key principles, that for us, help to explain the elements of an authentic process.