S58D: WORKSHOP: Embedding Flexibility into Co-design

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By December 13, 2022 No Comments

Authors: Ari Reid, Cat Morgan, Stephanie Touzeau

Year: 2022

Event: 2022 TheMHS Conference

Subject: workshop, co-design

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: WORKSHOP: Navigating complexity by embedding flexibility into co-design processes.

In this workshop we will share the successes and lessons we have learned from co-designing governance and leadership training for and with people with lived experience of mental health and psychosocial disabilities. We will use the experiences of the co-design team to unpack some of the challenges that co-design can present us with. Together workshop facilitators and delegates will explore flexible options that enable a diverse range of participants to be involved in co-design and ensures the right people can contribute to the process. Through discussion and facilitated activities, delegates will have the opportunity to reflect on how they can apply these ideas and principles to their own practice.

For co-design to be effective, it must involve the people who are most impacted by the “problem” that we are trying to solve, with consideration being given to ensuring that diverse lived and living experiences, identities and communities are represented. This workshop will highlight how important this is to the overall success of the final product. Delegates will then work together on scenarios with increasing layers of complexity, developing co-design strategies that maximize participation and increase the diversity of the people involved. Throughout the workshop there will be opportunities for facilitated discussion that encourages delegates to share their own co-design challenges and explore ways of embedding flexibility into their processes.

Delegates will hear directly from the people involved in the Lived Experience Development Governance and Education (LEDGE) project including the project coordinator, consumers and members of the co-design team. LEDGE is a project of the South Australian Lived Experience Leadership and Advocacy Network (LELAN) and is funded through an Information, Linkages and Capacity Building grant from the Department of Social Services. LEDGE aims to increase participation of people with lived experience of mental health and psychosocial disabilities, particularly NDIS participants, in decision making processes across the mental health and social services sector.

The LEDGE training program was co-designed with people with lived experience of mental distress, social issues or injustice, including people with lived experience of psychosocial disabilities and NDIS participants. Through regular check ins with participants during the co-design process, we became aware that additional options to participate were necessary.

Our commitment to prioritising people with lived and living experiences in co-design, asking the right questions and being willing to listen to feedback allowed us to recognise the gaps in our co-design team and identify the barriers that stopped some groups of people from being able to participate.

While we continued to have productive and committed people with lived experience actively involved in the co-design team, we realised that we needed more flexible options to ensure that NDIS participants were able to meaningfully contribute to the process. Without their involvement the training we designed would have replicated the same barriers that made the co-design process inaccessible to the people it was intended to benefit.

While it took additional time and extra work, we are confident that the final training program that was developed is significantly better as a result of the input from people with diverse needs and experiences.

This workshop relates to the conference theme of ‘Navigating complexity - Embedding Integration that Makes a Difference’ because we believe that it is possible to navigate complexity through true co-design. Embedding flexibility into the co-design process, allows for a more diverse range of people with diverse experiences to participate. This ultimately leads to the design of more useful services and products that meet the complex needs of more people.

Delegates will leave this session having improved strategies for embedding flexibility and encouraging diversity and participation within co-design and a greater appreciation for the impact it has on the quality of the final product.

Workshop plan:
(15 min) Introductions of presenters and delegates. Delegates will be asked to share any experiences they have had with co-design.
(15 mins) Presentation of the LEDGE project and the LEDGE co-design process.
(15 mins) Small group work on case studies that are based on complexities within co-design, specifically issues of diversity, participation and accessibility.
(15 mins) feedback from the group work and facilitated discussion and sharing of skills and knowledge related to the case studies and delegates own experiences and contexts.

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