Co-Production: Tools, Challenges & Success Stories

Co-production, a collaborative approach that involves stakeholders in the decision-making process, has gained significant recognition in various sectors. To facilitate successful co-production, the use of tools and resources is crucial. In this blog post created from October's Conversation on Co-production, we delve into the different types of tools available, their importance, and how they can help achieve shared objectives. Moreover, we also address challenges faced in the process and explore potential solutions.


Types of Tools and Their Significance

Tools and resources play a pivotal role in facilitating collaboration, engagement, and shared decision-making among co-production parties. The choice of tools may vary depending on sector-specific or organisational needs and objectives. Flexibility is key when selecting or providing advice on tools, considering factors such as ease of use, scalability, and compatibility with existing systems. It is essential to identify organisational and stakeholder needs before determining the most suitable tools for a co-production project.

Learning from Others

Learning from successful co-production case studies is invaluable. Many organisations share their experiences and tools that have proven effective. By leveraging these insights, we can avoid reinventing the wheel and benefit from tested strategies. Exploring case studies and engaging in conversations with peers in similar positions can provide valuable guidance and enhance the co-production process.

So we did an employer's toolkit for employing people with lived experience, from recruitment right the way through to progression…We did a mystery shopping toolkit to enable people to take part in mystery shopping exercises into services, but how to do that in a trauma-informed way and make sure that people were okay and that was all co-produced. All of these toolkits were co-produced. We did a trauma-informed practice in co-production, so just looking at that whole issue toolkit around that, service user groups and a guide to co-production within service user groups.


Remote Collaboration Tools

With the shift towards remote work, online collaboration tools have become integral to co-production efforts. Platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Slack, and Miro offer features that enable communication, sharing of ideas, and collaboration. These tools have proven particularly useful for remote work environments. However, it is essential to consider accessibility issues and ensure that alternatives are available for individuals who may face challenges with these platforms.

If we're doing work on older people's groups, let's go and turn up at those older people's clubs and talk to them about how they access services


Overcoming Challenges

Two significant challenges faced in co-production are communication and recording/transcribing sessions. Maintaining effective communication among all parties involved, both during and between meetings, is essential. Finding a tool that caters to the diverse needs of stakeholders can facilitate smoother collaboration. Additionally, accurately recording and transcribing sessions remains a hurdle. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, ongoing exploration and testing of tools and techniques can help identify more efficient methods.

I think two of the main things in terms of co-production tools that we both use and find challenging is, one around communication. So how do you maintain communication with all parties, both sort of in preparation for meetings, during meetings, between meetings, all of that sort of stuff. So that's always there in the back of our minds and trying to find something that works for everybody. And also what you were saying [NAME] around the recording, how do we record and transcribe it? We are yet to find something that is successful in accurately capturing what has been said.


Sharing Best Practices

To foster continuous improvement, sharing best practices and lessons learned is crucial. Creating toolkits, case studies, and resources that capture successful co-production experiences can provide guidance and prompt further innovation. By establishing prompts or questionnaires to gather information and feedback, organisations can systematically document and share their co-production journeys. This sharing of knowledge will enhance the collective understanding of effective co-production practices and contribute to better outcomes.

How do we almost have a case study pro forma or something that we can use for Coproduction and involvement work so that we can share good practice? Because I'm really conscious stuff just doesn't get shared. There's loads of stuff happening, but then you ask people and people are like, oh, well, we don't know of anything. And I'm like, we need something almost like some prompts or something. So I'm kind of putting together almost like a series of prompts or questions that people could use to tell the story, almost do a case study of co-production. And we took that to the Lived Experience network, so we've kind of co-produced those questions, if that makes sense.


In the ever-evolving landscape of co-production, the right tools and resources can make a significant difference. By understanding the specific needs and objectives of co-production projects, organisations can identify suitable tools and leverage the experiences of others. Embracing online collaboration platforms while considering accessibility ensures inclusivity in remote work environments. Overcoming challenges such as effective communication and accurate recording/transcription requires continuous exploration and experimentation. Ultimately, sharing best practices and creating resources will foster a culture of learning and improvement, leading to more successful co-production endeavors.

You can hear more from Conversation on Co-production in the Co-pro Radio podcast!

Listen to the podcast on Spotify here!

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If you are wanting some pointers on getting started with co-production, check out Expert Links videos

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