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What is co-design?

Co-design is putting aside our assumptions and instead asking people what they really want and need. It means working alongside people and communities to define solutions that will work for them. Co-design, when practiced well, offers the potential for improved community wellbeing outcomes. It is an opportunity for people to impact, lead, and shape the things that influence their lives.  

What it looks like: 

  • A way of working with diverse groups of people 
  • Addressing power imbalances and ensuring everyone has a voice - end users are included in the decision-making process 
  • Staying curious and open-minded, learning from others with lived experience 
  • Building meaningful relationships and trust 
  • Testing, iterating and refining ideas with others 
  • Open and inclusive – Anyone should be able to participate and express themselves 
  • Learnings from co-design directly impact the direction of the project

What It doesn’t look like:  

  • A tick-box, linear, or consultation process 
  • Pushing personal or political agendas 
  • Relying on your own assumptions and biases 
  • Exclusive – where marginalised groups such as those living with physical/intellectual disabilities are excluded from engagements 
  • Rushing to solutions 

What it means to truly co-design with rangatahi

To design solutions that meet the rapidly shifting needs of rangatahi, they need to be given agency to make decisions and be given the space for their needs to be understood.  

Co-design compared to other types of youth engagement:


Rangatahi wahine boxing training on an athletics field
Where to begin
Ethics and best practice 

Before starting any co-design process with rangatahi, it is important that your organisation has the skillsets and knowledge to ensure all engagements are carried out ethically. 

Rangatahi posing for a photo at skate park
Finding rangatahi to engage with

It is critical that you partner with organisations that have trusted relationships with rangatahi, and identify a core group of rangatahi.

Co-design resources

The following resources can help you or your organisation at any stage of a co-design process

If you require an accessible version of any content on the site please contact us and we will be happy to assist.

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