Photo Thibault Trillet

You have the perfect strategy: you know your market and your teams well, you have a solid roadmap, and you have a clear understanding of what needs to be done, and what will show that you have succeeded. So why is this strategy losing steam? Why aren’t the actions flowing at the right pace? Why do some people not see where your organization wants to go? Fortunately, a solution to design your collective approaches is right in front of you…
Today we are talking about co-design: the co-design of your approach, through a partnership between the functions or profiles concerned, as well as between the internal and external profiles that give it shape.

A shared idea has more impact than a brilliant idea

This strategy, this transformation, this performance plan: it is the reflection of what your organization is today. It is your translation of what it needs to complete, adjust, stop or add to achieve a vision. By staying alone or in a small committee, you do not expose yourself to questioning or contradiction, or simply to a different perception. This may seem comfortable, but it is ultimately very risky – all the more so when the first indicators reveal a gap between ambition and result.

I’ll share (again) with you this quote from the former CEO of Cisco when he realized what I just described:

“It was hard for me at first to learn to be collaborative. The minute I’d get into a meeting, I’d listen for about 10 minutes while the team discussed a problem. I knew what the answer was, and eventually I’d say, “All right, here’s what we’re going to do. But when I learned to let go and give the team the time to come to the right conclusion, I found they made just as good decisions, or even better—and, just as important, they were even more invested in the decision and thus executed with greater speed and commitment. I had to develop the patience to let the group think.”

John Chambers, former Cisco CEO, in 2008 (HBR)

Listening to differences for lasting results

Co-design is a bit like the thorn in the thigh for design in collective dynamics: it incorporates differences in perception and creativity from the very beginning of a process. The definition of objectives, the steps to reach them, the definition and distribution of roles, the creation of teams, the indicators of success: when it comes to taking action, the differences have not been discarded, but rather they have been dealt with and integrated in such a way that all stakeholders feel comfortable with the result.

They are then clear not only about what the organization is trying to accomplish, but about their contribution to that accomplishment. It is not uncommon for teams to propose higher ambitions than they were given credit for!

How does co-design work?

In order to set a collective in motion in a rhythmic and therefore sustainable way, you must associate 1. as many people as possible and 2. as soon as possible.

As many people as possible? We are not talking about holding a seminar to choose the brand of coffee for the meeting space (even if this space is crucial for your organization!). We are talking about identifying and involving the people who will be involved in the deployment: involving them in some of the information gathering, reflection or design stages lifts the barrier between decision and action.

As early as possible? The earlier you explain the story, the less likely you are to backtrack or miss possible scenarios. With the involvement of end users or the teams that face them, you quickly identify what is important to them.

Co-designing means involving the stakeholders as much and as early as possible, to optimize the energies mobilized over time. It is ultimately the shortest route to commitment!

With Co-Dynamics, co-design starts at our first meeting: we build on our respective roles, combine your knowledge of your activity and your teams with my/our collaborative methods.