Co-design
in Social Innovation

Organisations and communities are showing an increasing ability to find practical and innovative ways to deal with the day to day challenges they meet locally whether they have legal competence to do so or not. Many practitioners and policy makers are looking for ideas and solutions to address issues and problems and meet citizens’ needs. These solutions may have been addressed and managed successfully before in other places.

Social innovation opens a more collaborative and inclusive way to find solutions that meet people’s real needs, a creative process with the aim to deliver new solutions to a challenge. These solutions (products, services, models, markets, processes etc.) will “simultaneously meet a social need (more effectively than existing solutions) and lead to new or improved capabilities and relationships and better use of assets and resources” (TEPSIE).

Framing the challenge properly is the first step to finding the right solution. There are many methods and tools in social innovation for both framing the problem and searching out and defining solutions. The SIC Co-creation Toolkit proposes a sequence of activities, structured in four phases, and design thinking tools that will help you and your organisation to set up and facilitate a process of co-creation that seeks to find solutions to your specific challenges. The process itself – based on the basic principles of collaboration, openness, iteration and coaching – brings a new approach that has social impact in its means (process) and ends (solution).

By developing a co-creation process, apart from the better solution created, other outcomes that have social impact will be achieved such as common and shared better understanding of the local issue by a wider group of local stakeholders, communities’ capacity building, citizen resilience, new alliances, teambuilding or wider engagement locally.