Short for ‘collaborative design’, co-design is a process where you work with the people who may use the program, product or service and get them to help you design it.

You might co-design with:

  • People affected by your challenge or topic
  • Customers of your potential product or service
  • Staff from any relevant or related organisations

Co-design is most useful when you have an understanding of your community and their needs and are ready to work with them to come up with new ideas.

Co-design generally takes place before you begin making and testing prototypes.

These resources have been divided into three phases:

  1. Scope— Defining what and who
  2. Run— Preparing and planning
  3. Capture— Understanding and sharing findings

The principles of successful co-design include:

  • With not for — Helping people to come up with ideas instead of coming up with ideas for them
  • Listen don’t talk — Listening to people instead of telling them things
  • Invent don’t test — Coming up with new solutions instead of testing ideas you already have

In this section


Going to them

How the Australia Post Social Design Team created pop-up co-design sessions in public spaces


Creating a perfect idea

How the Australia Post Social Design Team created a ‘perfect idea’


Increasing impact and relevance

How the Western Bulldogs Community Foundation used co-design to help increase the impact of their Sons of the West program