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A Zoom screen of lots of smiling co-producers from one of our Co-Pro Cuppas

Reflecting in December: Monthly Team Update

December 21, 2021

As 2021 draws to a close, we're reflecting on the importance of living our values and looking ahead to how we can deepen this in 2022.

It’s only a week or so until we say goodbye to 2021 –and what a year it’s been. We started our monthly team updates in March, with the launch of this co-created website and, looking back, we’ve managed to pack a lot in!

From co-producing a book chapter and book review (of a book about co-production, of course!) to celebrating our first birthday in October, there’s a lot to be proud of. The timeline below (created by Jordan, Community Engagement trainee at UCL and co-producer) gives just a flavour of what we’ve done together in our first year of existence as Co-Production Collective.

A colourful timeline of our activity
A timeline of our work since we launched in October 2020

You can still add your memories of the past year, and read other people’s, in our collaborative Co-Pro Highlights document.


Living our values

If we were only going to take one thing away from this last year, it would be the importance – in fact, the absolute necessity – of living and breathing our core values. Striving every day to be human, inclusive, transparent and challenging feels more vital than ever at the end of 2021.

That’s not to say it’s easy – far from it! And we definitely don’t always get it right (we are human, after all). It can be very tempting to take the quicker and easier route, especially when time is tight, resources are stretched, and the wider world feels very uncertain. But the rewards are far, far, greater when we embrace different perspectives, invest in each other, and work together meaningfully. We get asked all the time ‘how do you do co-production?’ and our answer is always ‘start with the values’; the rest will follow.

Looking to the future

We want to deepen and embed this way of working even more in2022. We’ve already got a whole list of potential opportunities to help us do this, including:

  • Finishing the co-creation of our payment policy, putting the needs of people ahead of the bureaucratic systems that get in the way
  • Thinking together with you about how we best add value to the new UCL strategy currently under development – more on this soon
  • Continuing to co-create a process and framework for how we make decisions about the external funding we receive or partnerships we enter into      
  • Expanding the co-creation of a new online community area for the Co-Production Collective, making it easier to connect with each other and build the co-production movement
  • Taking a co-evaluation approach to strengthen our reflection and learning
  • Revisiting the ambitions and goals in Our Direction 2020-2022 and starting to think about how we want to update them as we refresh our strategy

This is all alongside our usual Co-Pro Cuppas, our collaborations with external partners across research, policy and practice, and whatever else might come our way!

We hope you’ll come with us on this journey as co-producers, as partners and as a co-production community.

Thank you

On that note, we couldn’t end the year without saying a huge THANK YOU to everyone in the Co-Production Collective community – and yes, if you’re reading this, that includes you!

Every Co-Pro Cuppa conversation, every blog, and every story shared, makes our understanding of co-production richer and our community stronger. Together we give each other the strength to be more challenging in the face of inequality, the tools to enable inclusion, the bravery to push for transparency and the empathy to be more human.

We wish you a happy and healthy festive season, however you may be spending it, and look forward to championing co-production with you in 2022.  

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