Co-creation generally leads to better buy-in and can deliver more effective solutions, new ideas or uses, new finance or service models.
The process helps test ideas and solutions with future users as well as explore entirely new concepts that may be more attuned to what matters. Many successful projects not only empower residents to take part, but lead to more actively involved communities later on.
Long Beach partnered with its LGBTQ community to develop Harvey Milk Promenade Park and Equality Plaza. It is much more than a public space honoring an icon of the gay-rights movement. It also will be an example of civic innovation in action.
Everything about the park — from the memorial wall honoring local LGBT leaders to the placement of pingpong tables — was co-designed with the public. In addition, the city used an innovative procurement process to purchase the park’s outdoor furniture, one that allowed residents to try out tables, chairs, and mobile-device charging stations before the city invested taxpayer money.
Plan how you will involve even hard to reach users, key stakeholders and suppliers at different stages. Remember, their needs are all very different.
Design activities around each target group and the solution you are trying to develop. Empathy and having trusted partners will go a long way to avoid alienating people. Did they have a chance to dream?
Talk about co-creation
Share how co-creation impacted the planning journey and consider if it is of interest of media or specific groups.
Give users role in formal decisions
Users should stay involved in decisions going forward to recognize their contribution and carry the co-creation benefits through to implementation.