Getting the most out of research – using co-design to capture the voices of stakeholders

January 2018


Earlier this year Spoonful of Sugar in partnership with UCL entered the JoVE ‘Film Your Research competition’. This international competition invited scientists to connect with the concept of “visual science” by making a 2-minute video featuring members of the research team performing a scientific technique in the field. The SoS entry described the process of co-design using a fun example to highlight why co-design is important for all aspects of research and to improve adherence with treatment.

Co-design in research describes a process that involves designing a solution to a research problem with the end users. It helps to ensure that any research undertaken is relevant, applicable, and appropriate for the people affected by the research. Co-design can include any other stakeholders who may be influenced by the research. The first step in co-design is to identify the stakeholders, this may involve thinking ‘outside the square’ to identify the people who may have a less direct relationship with the research. Secondly, participants need to be identified and this can be done through various social and communication networks. Lastly, feedback and views about the research are gathered by using appropriately designed questions, which are then incorporated into the research.

This research technique aims to address the problem in science where solutions are developed for users without user input, resulting in solutions that don’t work or are not used. Co-design ensures that user views are listened to throughout the entire research process and avoids assumptions that isolates research from the users.

The competition received 100’s of entries from over 30 countries and SoS were among the top 15 critically-acclaimed videos from @JoVEJournal Film your research contest. Check it out!