Finalist 2022

Co-design NOW

Safer Care Victoria / Department of Premier and Cabinet

Co-design NOW! builds sector confidence in co-design, partnering and improvement science, for safer healthcare delivery and design.

Co-design NOW! is a course co-created and run by passionate healthcare consumers, clinicians, and improvement staff from Safer Care Victoria (SCV) with support from Department of Premier and Cabinet. It addresses inclusion and access by partnering with health consumers to support a transformation of quality and safety in healthcare. Taking an agile improvement approach over 2021-2022 it has evolved with three iterations. It is a driver for capability uplift for the Victorian health sector. Evaluations show it supports a shift in mindsets, empowers learners, raises awareness and provides skills to strengthen and sustain partnering in healthcare quality and safety practice.

Design Brief:

Safer Care Victoria partners with health services and health consumers to prevent and learn from patient harm. e.g reduce hospital re-admissions, manage chronic conditions, prevent child mortality, voluntary assisted dying.

We needed a course to show partnering in practice Although Safer Care Victoria is unified around partnering in healthcare and working with consumers, teams face operational challenges and capability gaps to ensure consistent, quality engagement. “we have the will… but not the way”. Teams needed support to engage deeply for impactful work like 100,000 Lives Program, Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and Duty of Candour reforms. We needed a course suitable for healthcare consumers and staff to collaborate at a service and system level—a gap in the market. We wanted to demonstrate how Improvement science, co-design and our Partnering in Healthcare framework connect and apply to system transformation.


This project was developed by:

Design Process

Our approach is as important as the outcome How we designed the course was as important to us as the outcome we delivered. It was important in our course design to center lived-experience and different types of “knowing”. By involving health consumers in our core team as designers and co-facilitators we showed that partnering was possible and valuable to quality improvement. Many of the positive comments in our evaluations can be attributed directly to the establishment of a multi-disciplinary team, with diverse lived and living experience.

An agile pilot leveraging Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycles The course was created in 12-weeks with a passionate team of nine: consumers, clinicians, co-designers and improvement staff. Each week this core team came together to create the course founding it on the Partnering in healthcare framework, co-creation and improvement science principles:

  • Iterative in its design and delivery
  • Our train-the-trainer approach was adapted for online delivery
  • Course design was biased to build practical skills, using 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development
  • Baked-in improvement science and partnering for agile course delivery with participants responding to their needs
  • Creation of support systems, buddies and a community of practice for learners to extend their work and push practice beyond the course delivery
  • Accessibility was baked into the content delivery with use of videos, worksheets and asynchronous communication

An invitation for all of us to do things differently The course both leveraged and extended design processes and engagement frameworks. We co-created extensions to the design squiggle (Newman, 2019) and IAP2 Spectrum of Public Participation (IAP2, 2018) to describe what “partnering” looked and felt for learners. The process and experience of Co-design NOW! is an invitation for learners to “learn by doing”, reflect critically and “sit in the grey”. All important skills from a designer’s toolbox.

Design Excellence

Co-design NOW! works and momentum is building Participants who complete this course are extremely likely to recommend this course to others - 9.53 out of 10. As learners wrote “Head and shoulders one of the best workshops I've attended from every perspective” and “the materials presented were of high value - content was great.” For the pilot our Net Promoter Score was 79 – note that above 80 is world class. The most recent cohort gave Co-design NOW! a net promoter score of 100!

Access and inclusion by design: The course is built to be accessible and inclusive in it’s design and delivery. We:

  • ran drop-in sessions to boost digital confidence before starting
  • designed tools accessible by-default (allowing for magnification, alt text, captions, memory prompts and video instruction)
  • used technology to create opportunities for flexible learning and layered participation
  • connected buddies with asynchronous activities allowing for personal conversations and individual reflection (a way to boost connection and confidence in future sessions). Engaging and empowering staff and health consumers

The course not only achieved its aims but it also empowered learners to advocate and lead in co-design of system improvement. With tools, mindsets, connections and confidence we are excited to hear them putting what they’ve learnt into action. “Once you have done co-design, you won't be going back to what you have been doing before. And that's exactly what's happened to me because I love it. So now there's no way that I'm going back because I can see the result. And I'm so glad that I have been a part of this because just developing the course and then being a part of delivering the course has been very empowering for me. And I believe that we can do anything really.” Health consumer facilitator.

Design Innovation

Letting people feel okay about the “greyness” of co-creation Co-design NOW! is a living breathing example of partnering from start to finish. It is flexible, nuanced, and supportive for all types of learners with different expectations and needs. By being co-designed it considers power, access and levels of participation. It is built for people to learn by doing - using 70-20-10 Model for Learning and Development.

Using technology to support learning, communication and critical reflection Co-design NOW! leveraged Engage Victoria, an engagement platform open to the Victorian Public sector to support our trainers and learners. With special permission the platform allowed us to store content and feedback mechanisms into one collaborative online space—a unique challenge for collaboration with government.

Online facilitation:

  • reduced burden of participation, increased access
  • increased participation by rural and regional consumers
  • improved feedback rates and monitoring of engagement
  • allowed for recordings of sessions and notes Designing online MakeTools to push practice

The course was delivered online using Teams, videos and an interactive online workbook. We used video examples, chat, polls, interactive boards and break out rooms to keep participants active and engaged. Summary of boards and emails ensured all participants, consumers and staff had equal access and ability to participate in tasks. Planting opportunities for peer-based creation, delivery and learning To extend and support one another, learners are invited to join a Community of Practice once they complete the course. This space is an opportunity to reconnect, share work or discuss important topics.

Design Impact

Not just your average co-design course For us Co-design NOW! is a vehicle for cultural change and capability uplift. By creating and adapting it together we see it as one way for us to work towards SCV’s vision of “outstanding healthcare for all Victorians.” Seeing and feeling a shift We can see shifts in how we partner – through the 100,000 Lives Program, responding to Royal Commission into Victoria’s Mental Health System and Duty of Candour legislative reforms. “It has changed my thinking. Previously we would have just developed the consumer resources and information for this new piece of legislation.

[The course] has given me the confidence and permission to instead get the consumers to show us the way. I am more inclined to say, ‘Let’s have a conversation’ and engage with them to help co-design the resources we need - it is a new way of doing things.” SCV Staff member Amplifying the value of including lived-experience “Hearing [Co-design NOW!] examples are invaluable in my work, to advocate at a system level for those consumers (patients) who potentially fall through the cracks.

This course has definitely broadened my thinking in general about shared decision making, power imbalances, being inclusive, thinking outside the box and the role that consumers can play which is much more expansive that I originally thought!” Why we’ll keep Partnering in healthcare At Safer Care Victoria we know better health outcomes are achieved when consumers work together with health services and government.

Co-design is one way to enhance participation and partnerships. The teams that emerge from this are dedicated and will continue to find new opportunities to showcase the co-design spirit, lead by example and put theory into action. We’re excited to share Co-design NOW!, and spin-offs with healthcare services across the state in 2023.

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