Co-design principles

Co-design conditions

We’re in this together.

We give no special privileges to people with letters before or after their name (e.g. ‘Dr’ or ‘PhD’) or with more income, education or wellness. All backgrounds are equal. We use each other’s first names and refer to each other as people – not by titles, acronyms or slang. There is no such thing as ‘just’ having lived experience.

You are welcome here.

We respect your identity and will work to ensure other co-designers do too. If someone challenges or disrespects your identity or experience, we will support you, regardless of their intentions. We’ll use and respect your pronouns and your prefered name.

You can choose what you’re comfortable with sharing.

We won’t ask you to disclose anything personal. If you do, we’ll listen with compassion, believe your experience and agree not to be judgemental through our words or body language. In return, you need to do the same for others.

You help to make this space safe.

We need your help to make this space safe for everyone. This requires us all to be kind, curious and hospitable, and to defer judgement in favour of understanding. We are tough on systems and gentle on individuals. The organisers will step in when the space is unsafe; please tell us in real time if we don’t notice.

You can ask, and we’ll ask too.

We want to know anything that helps you to be included and to stay included – for example, bringing a support person, delaying decision-making or changing your small group. We will regularly ask you for feedback on your experience, and we want your honest thoughts. There will never be and repercussions or unfriendliness from the organisers if you tell us we didn’t do a good job. If you do, we will try to improve. If we can’t, we’ll try to find something better suited.

You don’t have to ask for permission.

You don’t have to ask for permission to do things such as go to the bathroom or take time out. Co-design isn’t school.


You are appreciated

Your effort, honesty, emotional labour and hope is valued.

You are supported

We will make sure you can take part in this process.

You are welcome here

Your identity, stories and emotions are all welcomed here.

Come as you are

There is no ‘right’ way for you to be or show up.

Making decisions

  • We are committed to equity, which can require courageous decisions.
  • We are not here to maintain the status quo, unless it supports the outcomes we’re striving for.
  • We will understand what’s at stake before making a decision, including the consequences of not doing anything.
  • We want to move forward – that means we won’t always agree on everything.
  • While expertise is not equivalent to lived experience, sometimes technicalities and facts are more important when making decisions.
  • At the end of the day, if a decision cannot be made, the convenor will make the decision.
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