What is Co-design?

Co-design is a participatory strategy that is used to enhance several aspects of program/policy development, including: (1) acceptability and feasibility for real world practice; (2) long-term buy in and ownership within the development site; and (3) reciprocal learning for the research team about the business demands and expectations of practice sites. Co-design combines research synthesis with the industry expertise of actors in a particular policy or practice market. It takes a partnership approach, wherein end users are actively involved in the design process to help ensure that the outcome meets their needs and expectations. The researchers’ role is to locate and synthesize research findings relevant to the community agency’s goals and assist in integrating these principles within real world programming (Jagosh et al., 2012).Co-design originated in the 1960s in Scandinavian industry, where workers influenced the design and use of computer applications at their workplace and has since been expanded to be used in a range of other domains (Verbiest et al., 2018).

*Jagosh, J. Macaulay, A., Pluye, P., Salsberg, J., Bush, P…Greenhalgh, T. (2012). Uncovering the benefits of participatory research: Implications of a realist review for health research and practice. The Milbank Quarterly, 90(2), pp. 311–346.

*Verbiest, M., Corrigan, C., Dalhousie, S., Firestone, R., Funaki, T.,…Mhurchu, C. (2018). Using codesign to develop a culturally tailored, behavior change MHealth intervention for Indigenous and other priority communities: A case study in New Zealand.” Translational Behavioral Medicine,

Co-design Principles

  • Engages end-users in design

  • Is democratic

  • Promotes ownership, fit, and sustainability

  • Embraces heterogeneity and acknowledges real world complexity up front

  • Emphasizes continuous quality improvement and outcomes

*Goodyear-Smith, F. Jackson, C., & Greenhalgh, T. (2015). Co-design and implementation research: challenges and solutions for ethics committees. BMC Medical Ethics, 16(1).

SAJE Codesign Projects