Co-design workshop

A co-design workshop is an opportunity to bring citizens, front-line staff, and program area staff together to design with them, rather than for themCo-design sessions are about making things together that help tell stories, and explain needs and hopes of the users. Creating tangible artifacts with people helps them articulate ideas that they would struggle to express in an interview setting.

Workshop structure

1. Introduce the team and the project

2. Set expectations

Set clear expectations and structure for the session so participants know to expect hands-on work. Include a description of the purpose of the session and outline the goals and value of the activities. Be clear about how session ideas will be used, especially how specific ideas for features, functions, policy, and other areas might be incorporated in the final service. 

3. Provide brief background information

Give participants enough background information into the project so they know what problems they are designing for. 

4. Run a co-design activity

The methods that are used most often in projects in the B.C. public service include:

  • Journey mapping: Participants can collaboratively map out the stages of a service.
  • Personas: Participants can create a fictional user of the service.
  • Sketching and storyboards: Participants can draw ideas using simple images to communicate a story, concept, idea, or feature of a service.

Provide well-defined examples and demonstration for any specific methods used so that people are clear about what they will be doing during the exercise.

5. Discuss and explain artifacts as a group

Use the laddering technique when discussing artifacts by taking a suggestion or design direction and asking why the person suggested it, then continuing to probe to uncover the core need expressed by the suggestion.

6. Conduct a second round of co-design (optional)

After sharing the artifacts made in the first round of co-design, participants can then build off their initial ideas using the same method or using a new method that builds on the previous one. For example, journey maps may build on storyboards.

Facilitation tips

  • Be neutral rather than advocating a specific predetermined outcome.
  • Encourage participation across the group and gently deter those who may dominate the conversation.
  • Capture suggestions, concerns and opportunities as they arise during the workshop.