Realising the potential of co-design: Imagining a future where families’ needs drive service development

Service design snapshots
Wednesday 25 July, 1440 – 1450


Sue Leahy
ARTD Consultants

Co-design places what matters most to families at the heart of service design. It positions service users as the experts in the design process to develop services that can better meet families’ needs. Traditional consultation approaches that start with a service or program model and ask for people’s views can often end up with a solution that does not address the core problem. Co-design presents a valuable opportunity to design services that are adaptive and responsive to the needs of families in the 21st century, but it has not yet permeated practice.

To realise the potential of co-design, good practice needs to be identified and shared. This paper describes the steps in a successful co-design process. As part of the Victorian Government’s Aboriginal Maternal and Child Health Initiative (AMCHI), ARTD Consultants was engaged to facilitate a co-design process to develop a new Maternal and Child Health (MCH) service model to ensure Aboriginal families have access to culturally responsive and high-quality MCH services. Key stakeholders with expertise in working with Aboriginal families and delivering MCH services participated in a three-phase co-design process that explored in-depth the needs and experiences of Aboriginal families, generated new service ideas to respond to these needs and then refined service features for implementation.

Through a series of workshops, stakeholders produced a flexible and tailored AMCHI service model firmly centred on the needs of Aboriginal families. The paper invites participants to imagine a future where what matters most to families drives service design and implementation.