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digital toolkit

In 2023 I was involved in a partnership between Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and Children's Health Queensland (CHQ). Alongside Dr Jeremy Kerr, I was tasked with developing a co-design toolkit for CHQ staff statewide, supporting them to learn and apply co-design across all corners of the organisation. The toolkit would be co-designed with CHQ staff, for CHQ staff, using creative collaborative methods to bring the resources to life. 

While some staff members at CHQ had been doing co-design – or consumer engagement more broadly – for many years, there wan't a unified approach, how-to guide or set of cohesive resources for staff to learn about co-design or apply it in practice. Time-poor clinical and non-clinical staff were pulling together ad hoc co-design tools and struggling to navigate the hospital's procedures and protocols, lacking confidence that they were co-designing authentically, ethically and in line with best practice.


How we created Co-design@CHQ

The process began with two action learning projects – Dakabin Youth Hub and an eating disorders project – to get a sense of what co-design currently looked like at CHQ. Following this, we facilitated 4 creative workshops with 17 staff members – representing all corners of the organisation – to imagine what the toolkit could be. This was followed by a process of co-analysis and iterative design, working closely with a CHQ developer to determine if a highly interactive tool was feasible in the Queensland Health intranet. Finally, we tested and refined the toolkit with staff, being humbled by crucial critical feedback that improved the toolkit tenfold in the lead-up to the launch in March 2024 at Dream Big Week.


What we learned

We heard that, fundamentally, staff are time-poor. They need an interactive toolkit that works on the ground in clinical practice, only giving them the information they need when they need it. They wanted both a repository of modular resources and a iroadmap to co-designing at CHQ, with relevant information summarised in a customised co-design project plan. Human support was crucial, and they  needed to feel that co-design was championed at an executive level.

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Introducing Co-design@CHQ

Co-design@CHQ is an evidence-based, best practice co-design toolkit that sits within the internal CHQ intranet. It’s a time-saver for busy health service staff, supporting them to learn about and apply co-design in practice.

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The hero product of the toolkit is the Co-design Compass, an interactive multi-step form that guides staff through the process of creating a co-design project plan, with micro-learning opportunities along the way. They are then given a customised PDF project plan that links out to resources that are relevant to all aspects of their project, pulled from repositories of tip sheets and an A-Z of over 50 co-design methods. They are also given a detailed road map with links to further resources, taking them through each step of the process to get their project off the ground at CHQ.


What's next for Co-design@CHQ

Co-design@CHQ has become something far greater than what the team had ever imagined. It is the first of its kind – an innovative, interactive co-design toolkit responding to the specific needs of CHQ staff. After working on the initial design and development of the toolkit, I was brought on in an ongoing, embedded senior advisory role to continue to bring the toolkit to life. We are currently working towards v2.0 of the toolkit by applying it to two First Nations action learning project, exploring the toolkit through the lens of  cultural safety. My role involves socialising the toolkit, mentoring staff who are doing co-design across the organisation, and collecting stories of past co-design triumphs for our ‘case studies’ section.


Belinda Taylor


Nicola Callard

Matthew Douglas


Istvan Fekete


Dr Jeremy Kerr


Jessica Cheers

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