Communicating Co-production

3 ideas for getting and keeping people involved

What encourages people to become involved in co-production, and how can we nurture their involvement once they are there? This is a topic often discussed by our network members, so we decided to bring it to the table at this month’s Conversation on Co-production. The group shared experiences and wisdom, along with learnings.

Here is what they had to say about getting (and keeping) people involved in co-production:

1. Consider incentives and investment

There is a whole debate on what incentives we can use to encourage participation in co-production. What is in it for people? Incentives do not have to be monetary based, we can also invest our time into people and groups.

People need to be trained and rewarded along the journey.”

“Gaining trust takes time and is a valuable investment. This means you value your lived experience as an asset.”

“Payment! Their time is precious”

“Commissioners and funders need to not just give lip service to things like this, they need to make sure the time is built in so that it can be meaningful.”

“There is such lack of staff, resources, budget, time, all of that together is like the perfect storm to not be able to do co-production properly.”


For some more wisdom on this topic and to learn how to value the voice of lived experience, see here!


2. Make it fun and enjoyable

We have spoken before about how co-production should have a clear purpose, but that does not mean that we need to miss out on the fun. To avoid co-production becoming a transactional activity, fun and enjoyment are key factors in getting people involved, and keeping them involved too.

“It has got to be more enjoyable, work should be more enjoyable than it is, co-production should be more enjoyable than it is for many people.”

“You can get some food, and it make it a bit more fun. Bring in the pizza, it can help get people involved.”

“If we build value into something, then they’re going to join in…value breeds the enthusiasm and they see the point of it and what to do more of it.”


3. Ensure meaningful involvement and rebalance the power

Representation, involvement and consultation all have their place, but for true co-production, lived experience needs to be given the power to be involved in decision making.

“How do you get to a representative group…not just have tokenism?”

“It is not just a way of representation, it is a way of improving the work that you do beyond recognition. The work that I have done is unrecognisible to what I had done before I went into those spaces.”

“Nothing is really going to change services unless you involve people to the point of offering them some decision making control and power.”

“It still feels like they just want to listen to what service users say, take that away and do something with it. They never really take service users on the journey with them, to make sure they’re not just involved at the beginning or at the end, but that they’re involved in the whole process.”

“People are exhausted by it, to be honest…if we are really going to transform things we need to listen to the people that use services.”

“I’ve found when speaking to residents, they haven’t got a clue what it is or what it involves. I think something to explain what we are aiming for and what we’re aiming for in the future, then encourage people to join and put their ideas forward.”

90% of our Board members have lived experience of multiple disadvantage. You can find out more about them here. If you would like some more ideas on adding value to Charitable Boards through lived experience, see here.


How do you and your organisation encourage co-production? We would love to hear your ideas! You can email us at

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

To hear about and join in with future conversations, sign up to our network and get your free tickets to join us at Conversations on Co-production here!

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