The Mediterranean Lab for Co-production 

of Social Innovation

Lesson 1 of 0
In Progress

Impact of our organizations and projects 03

soporte 22 November 2022

To implement co-production, we need a “whole systems approach” because:

  • Organizations must change at all levels, from top management to front-line staff, if they are to achieve meaningful participation.
  • Participation must become part of daily practice and not be a one-time activity.
  • Participation operates at different levels, as there are many ways to involve the people who use the services in different types of decisions.

Making co-production happen in practice involves everyone involved in the process, who may have different perspectives, working together to achieve the agreed goals. This means building relationships. This is reflected in the concept of “relational state”. Public services and governments must be based on a relationship approach, with devolution of power at all levels, so that people have power and responsibility. An important part of this concept is the idea that governments and service providers must trust citizens and the people who use the services.

We can distinguish 4 phases in the actual process:

1- Preparation of the process

Explore the challenge and possible solutions with a core team of engaged stakeholders with different perspectives on the challenge and potential funders of the solution. Stakeholders from the core team are trained in the application of social innovation principles, tools and methods and careful research on the challenge is carried out, preparing a challenge question for the “co-definition workshop”.

2- Co-defining the local challenge

Stakeholder interviews are conducted helping the core team define the challenge themes or questions for the co-definition workshop with a broader group of stakeholders, including end users. To better frame the challenge and ensure the solution achieved broad impact, the co-definition workshop seeks to share diverse perspectives, brainstorm initial solution ideas, and through shared understanding, develop a concise description of the challenge.

3- Co-creating solutions

The core team manages to improve its understanding of the challenge and emerging ideas for solutions by leveraging the results of the co-definition workshops through engagement with new stakeholders, insights and contributions. After refining the local challenge, 3-day co-creation workshops are designed and delivered with local stakeholders from the public, private and third-party sectors to co-produce social innovation solutions to address the challenge. Other social innovators are now invited to inspire the participants and show examples of how they have tackled similar challenges.

4- Implementing the solutions locally

Host centers support stakeholders who had created a solution idea to actively develop pilots by reflecting on new findings around the challenge; they develop a business plan and connect you with key stakeholders, potential donors and doers; In addition, financing resources are sought, enabling new alliances and associations; and finally similar successful solutions are explored.

As a summary, we highlight fundamental aspects to take into account:

  • Access : Ensuring that everything in the co-production process is accessible to all participants and that no one is left out.
  • Information : Make sure everyone involved has enough information to participate in co-production and decision-making.
  • Independent support : Consider whether an independent facilitator would be useful to support the co-production process.
  • Building community capacity : the importance of developing the skills of members of community organizations
  • Cooperation : The role that larger community organizations can play in their areas to help ensure equality by supporting smaller organizations to be part of the co-production.
  • Frontline staff and professionals : Ensure frontline staff have the opportunity to work using co-production approaches, with time, resources and flexibility.
  • Training – Make sure everyone involved is trained in the principles and philosophy of co-production and the skills they will need for the work they do.
  • Supports : Provide any support that is necessary to ensure that the community involved has the capacity to be part of the co-production process.
  • Co-Production Service Commissioning to ensure that policies and procedures promote the commissioning of services that use co-production approaches.
  • Local authorities can develop stronger links with the communities they serve through strategic implementation, developing “local” agendas that recognize the value of supporting local suppliers.