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Get Involved: Co-creating our Journey of Change

May 6, 2022

What's the challenge we exist to tackle? Share your feedback in the first phase of our Journey of Change co-creation.

This October, it will be two years since we co-created Co-Production Collective’s identity, vision, mission and strategy - Our Direction 2020-2022. As you’ve probably noticed, we’re well into 2022! As we explained in our earlier blog, that means it’s time to check in with where we think Co-Production Collective is going, and how we’re going to get there.  

To do this, we have started co-creating our Journey of Change, based on the concept of 'Theory of Change'. This may sound fancy, but really it is just a way to make sure we are doing the right things, with the right people, at the right time, in order to bring about some positive change. Theories of change usually show a problem that needs to be addressed, what’s causing it, the actions that can be taken and the change we hope to see.

Our Journey of Change should act as a kind of roadmap to help us plan and prioritise our activity and feed into the co-creation of an updated strategy later this year. Longer term, it will provide a framework for us to test our assumptions, evaluate what we do and build our evidence base around the value of co-production.

We’re not starting completely from scratch, as we already have our co-created vision - a big-picture, long-term ambition:

“A world where diverse knowledge and experience is recognised and valued in the co-production of research - and beyond.”

However, we need our Journey of Change to start a bit closer to home so we can get practical. We want to be able to think about the changes we can make in the context we’re currently working, and with the resources we have.

The journey so far: reflections and learning

An example problem (or challenge) tree

On 28 April we held the first of two co-creation sessions (co-facilitated by our friend Tom from Co:Create) to begin co-creating our ‘Journey of Change’, exploring the question ‘What is the problem Co-Production Collective exists to tackle?’. We used a tool called a ‘problem tree’ which is a way to display a problem, the effects it has and its root causes. The facilitators used an online Miro board, sharing their screen and taking notes as the groups talked.

In four breakout groups, the discussions ranged far and wide as we attempted to grapple both with the activity and the scale of our work. Our community brings people together from all kinds of backgrounds, across lived, living and learnt experience, and research, policy and services. The difference between causes/problem/effects is a matter of scale and trying to choose one central problem was difficult.

Some people really liked the tree framework, whilst others found it constraining. Some groups were able to settle on a problem whilst others didn’t get anywhere near choosing just one. Some people thought about practical barriers to co-production, whilst others focused on culture and attitudes. Everyone agreed that they didn’t like the term ‘problem’! We settled on ‘challenge’, which has more positive connotations and fits nicely with our values.

With hindsight, we (Lizzie and Tom, the facilitators) could have been clearer that the intention wasn’t to identify the most important problem for Co-Production Collective. Rather we wanted to build an understanding of all the interconnected issues, in order to identify a broad central theme which can describe what we do. That said, all the ideas shared and discussed were valuable and relevant to shaping our journey. There was also a lot of overlap in the notes made by the different groups, a reassuring sign that we’re headed in the right direction.  

Join us on the journey –co-creation in your own time

So where are we now?

All the individual notes from the workshop are still available to view on our Miro board, (this guide explains how to move around on Miro) and will feed into our ongoing work. From these, we’ve had a go about combining the work of the group together into a draft Challenge Statement and three groups of root causes.

This document – available as a PDF or Word document – shows these drafts in a few different formats (a tree, a table and a flow diagram) to support accessibility. It definitely isn’t perfect, but it’s a start! We need you to check and challenge our thinking, add your ideas and identify what might be missing.

How to get involved

Download the summary document (as a PDF or a Word document) to read through the draft Challenge Statement and root causes.

There are four questions at the end of the document for you to respond to. You can do so via this online form (it’ll be helpful to have the document to hand when you do this). If you’d prefer, you can also respond via email to, or even have a chat with us on the phone.

The deadline for submitting your response is Thursday 19 May.


It’s totally up to you how long you choose to spend on this work – whether you send some brief thoughts or a longer response. If you did not participate in the co-creation session, are responding in a personal capacity and do spend an hour or so on this, we would like to offer payment of £25 for your time and contribution.  

You can indicate you would like to be paid via the online form. If you’re submitting via email, please add a line stating this, and we’ll get in touch to organise this for you as soon as possible.

What happens next?

Once everyone interested has had a chance to contribute, we’ll analyse the feedback and identify any changes or key questions. Some of the next session on 26 May will be used for this, but we also want to move on to think about outcomes – what are the changes we want to see? What would good look like?

There will then be similar process of co-creation in your own time in June. We can’t be too specific about that yet, as we don’t know where we’ll end up by the end of the second session! But we will make sure to continue the conversation with the wider community, not just those who can join us on 26 May.

Ultimately, our Journey of Change will inform the co-creation of the next phase of our strategy, helping us to identify priorities as we move into 2023 and beyond.

Thank you

Thank you for shaping this journey with us. It’s challenging stuff, but as Mandy, one of our co-producers, said, “if it isn’t hard work, it isn’t co-production!".

If you have any questions, feedback, or would like more information, please drop us a line:


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